EDITORIAL: Understanding what assessments mean

Budgets are determined by considering the amount of money a municipal government will need

It happens every year.

Homeowners across the province receive property assessments from B.C. Assessment based on the property’s market value in July of the previous year.

Each year Sooke Municipal Hall staff will get calls from homeowners who mistakenly assume that if their assessed value has increased so will their taxes.

It’s the same dynamic that sees a flood of assessment appeals arise almost immediately after assessments are delivered.

But there are a few things that property owners need to understand about the system.

First, there’s no sense in calling Municipal Hall about your assessment. It was prepared by B.C. Assessment, a crown corporation with no connection to the District of Sooke.

Second, just because your assessment has gone up, it does not mean that your taxes will increase.

RELATED: Assessed values fall in Victoria

That calculation is based on the municipal budget.

Every municipality annually sets out their budget and then goes about determining the mill rate that will be applied to property owners in their jurisdiction.

The mill rate (or millage rate) is the percentage of tax that will be applied to every thousand dollars of property value to generate the money the municipality needs to operate. Municipalities multiply the assessed value by that mill rate and divide by 1,000 to determine the tax.

It’s actually a bit more complicated in Sooke as the property tax rate bylaw sets out a series of additional mill rates for items like the Vancouver Island Regional Library contribution that are then added onto the general municipal mill rate.

Clear as mud?

Well, think of it this way. It’s the mill rate that will play a much larger role in determining the tax one pays than the assessed value of a property.

That’s because the municipality calculates the mill rate based on their budget requirements and will adjust that rate so that the money collected reflects those budget needs.

If the assessments rise across the board, the mill rate will generally drop and property taxes will only rise in proportion to the real increases in the spending needs of the municipality.

Quite simply, before you rush to appeal an assessment, determine if your property’s assessed value has, without reason, increased by a higher percentage than your neighbours.

RELATED: How to appeal an assessment

If it hasn’t, take a deep breath and realize that your home’s market value may just have gone up while your taxes will likely stay the same.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Improperly transporting a pet in the back of the truck can cost up to $368

Police recommend keeping all animals inside the passenger portion of the vehicle

Mass-timber project in Esquimalt switches from condos to rentals

Corvette Landing will now offer rental units in the area

Police incident in Mount Douglas Park leads to road closure

Officers turning cars away, letting hikers go up trails

PHOTOS: Women’s March through downtown Victoria draws crowds of activists, allies

Attendees of all ages carried instruments, posters with empowering messages

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Royal deal clears way for Harry, Meghan part-time Canada move: experts

Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Most Read