Comparison of property tax rates by city
TOTAL PER $1000
for storm sewers
$260 Flat tax
for storm sewer
$6.67 per metre for water
$7.70 per metre for sewer
for fire truck
$10 land parcel
TAX BILL ON A
Property taxes are due next week and many people are looking at their bills and wondering how that final total was calculated and if they are paying more than they would if they lived in another city.
The table above shows the breakdown of property tax rates by city and several of the categories need some explanation. Cities set their own municipal rate, which includes general municipal expenses, debt and policing. The remaining categories are set by other authorities including the province of BC and regional districts. BCAA stands for BC Assessment Authority — this portion is what pays for annual property assessments and all of the red tape that goes along with them. MFA stands for Municipal Finance Authority — this is the organization that provides financial services including borrowing, investing and leasing to cities.
Regional district rates may vary from city to city within the same district largely based on what services the district provides for each city.
How a municipality sets its residential tax rates is contingent on a number of things including present and future needs, property values, and the amount of total tax revenue it will collect from businesses and major industries. Cities with major industrial operations can shift more of their taxes to these large businesses and away from residents.
Castlegar residents are faring well compared to our neighbouring cities, not just in percentage rates, but in the final total on their tax bills as well.
Due to the fact that property values vary from city to city, residents in one city with a higher tax percentage may or may not be paying a final bill that is more than what their counterparts further up the highway are paying. For example, based on 2015 BC government statistics (the most recent available) a representative house in Castlegar is valued at $253,000 and has a tax burden of $2019. Trail’s representative value is $183,000 and even though their percentage is much higher, their tax burden is only slightly higher at $2116. Rossland’s representative value is very close to Castlegar’s at $251,000 so their higher percentage rate reflects noticeably in their total, coming in at a $3400 tax burden. Nelson has both a higher representative value ($322,000) and a higher percentage than Castlegar, making their average tax bill $3028.
A glance over to the lower mainland shows that while some of their percentages are lower, their property values are higher, so they too are paying more than Castlegar residents — Vancouver’s representative house owner pays $5395 and Richmond’s $4221.
One more thing to keep in mind when looking at those figures is that they do not account for the BC Home Owners Grant. Depending on where you live and the value of your home, the grant is worth between $570 and $770 on your principal residence. After accounting for the grant, the average Castlegar homeowner will pay approximately $1249 in annual property taxes.