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The tricky game of appealing property assessments

January 24th, 2011 · 50 Comments

Every year, all of us (heavily mortgaged) landowners get that property assessment notice in the mail and think generally one of two things: 1. Aha, I’m worth way more than I was last year. But wait a minute — does this mean I have to pay more taxes or 2. Ha ha, my assessment didn’t go up as much as everyone else’s, so I get to pay less taxes.

Only a few of us thinking of actually challenging the B.C. Assessment Authority on their complex set of decisions about what a piece of property is worth.

My story in the Globe this weekend took me into the world of that rare group of people who do appeal their assessments, the kinds of arguments they make, and how successful they are.

I also calculated whether it all makes a difference.

It’s not in my story, but — using the mill rates published last year — a $100,000 reduction in assessment value in Vancouver meant a $421 reduction in taxes:  $214.86 in city taxes; $155.10 in school taxes, $37.93 in TransLink taxes; and other reductions for a total of $421.36.

If Al Dreher had been successful in getting his assessment lowered by $375,000, this would have been the payoff. : $805.73 in city taxes, $581.10 in school taxes, $142.23 in TransLink taxes and other taxes – including $24.84 to help pay for the assessment office – for a total of $1,049.58

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