How do I appeal my property assessment?

January 5, 2018

Have you been caught off-guard by a double-digit percentage increase in your property assessment?
Do you think the new number is higher than it should be?

B.C. Assessment allows homeowners to appeal their new property assessment — but it must be filed by January 31.

You can appeal your property assessment if you believe information on your assessment notice is incorrect or if you believe the actual market value listed is incorrect.

Across Greater Vancouver there were increases in the five- to 35-per-cent range. In the Fraser Valley, the increases ranged from 10 to 40 per cent.
Last month, the B.C. Assessment sent warning letters to 67,000 B.C. homeowners, letting them know to expect outsized increases on their 2018 property assessment notices.

Property owners should note that just because their assessed property value went up, it doesn’t mean they’ll face a big property tax increase this summer. What matters is how much your property increased compared to others in your property class.
To file for an appeal of your assessment you must:

— First speak with an appraiser from B.C. Assessment before Jan. 31; if they find an error, they can make a correction without an independent review.

— If you aren’t satisfied, you can file an appeal, in writing, to your local B.C. Assessment office by Jan. 31. You will receive a notice of a date for your hearing (it may give you only five days’ notice), between Feb. 1 and March 15.

— The appeal panel will look at whether your property assessment reflects actual market value and also looks to ensure assessments are applied consistently within a municipality or rural area.

— Bring five copies of your case to the hearing.

— Decisions are usually made right away, but they may be referred for further consideration. Final decisions must be made by March 16; you must be mailed your decision by April 7.

— The panel is not required to provide written rationale for its final decision.

— If you believe the panel did not consider changes or physical problems with your property, did not assess the fair market value of your property or you believe the assessment is inconsistent with that of similar properties, you can file an appeal of the panel’s decision with the Property Assessment Appeal Board by Apr. 30.

— Board decisions can be appealed to the courts over points of law.