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Gordon Campbell’s new property-tax plans raise questions

November 4th, 2008 · 3 Comments

You might have missed it in all the other excitment, but the premier of B.C. made an announcement Saturday that he is freezing property assessments and allowing anyone, not just people over 55, to defer their property taxes. What does that all mean, you may ask yourself.

Well, even if you didn’t, a lot of mayors and city finance directors around the province did on Sunday and Monday as they tried to figure out exactly what impact that would have for their cities. They eventually got some answers, but there are still more to come, as I note in my story today.

A point I didn’t raise in the story is that, while the property assessments won’t have much impact on your city tax bill, one place where there might potentially be an impact is with your TransLink taxes. Remember a couple of years ago, TransLink ended up getting a lot more income than it had anticipated because property assessments went up dramatically between the time it set its tax rate and the time the assessments were finalized.

I suspect TransLink has fixed that glitch but, if it hasn’t, this year there won’t be any possiblity of that happening since assessments won’t change from what they were in 2007.

For those who didn’t figure out the math on this already, the property market started to slide down around the beginning of June (according to sources) or the end of June (according to others). That means that the assessments, which are calculated based on property values as of July 1, would have been at the peak of the market.

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