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Each year, every city does its budget process, and determines how much revenue it will need in order to provide the services, accounting for such cost increases as inflation, increased regulation, and downloading of increased responsibilities from senior governments. Taking all that into account, each city sets its budgeted spending.
In British Columbia and other Canadian provinces, cities are required to collect their needed taxes based on property value (called "assessment") as established by BC Assessment Authority (BCAA), a provincial agency. Early in the new year, BCAA provides the valuation of all the properties in the province.
After the City sets its budgeted expenditures and once BCAA provides those values, the City’s tax division can set the municipal Tax Rate. The Tax Rate (often called the "mill rate"), when multiplied by the total value of all the property, will equal the total revenue needed to be collected from that class of property (residential, commercial, industrial, etc.). The average tax increase for 2020 is 2.98% for residential and 1.98% for business.
If your property experienced the same increase in value as the average, its new value would be multiplied by the new mill rate. If the City’s budget didn’t increase, and your assessment increased by the average, you do not end up paying more tax because it evens out.
But what if your property value increased by less than the average? In this scenario, an assessment increase that is less than average would actually result in your municipal taxes going down. And if your property value went up by more than the average, your municipal taxes (or your "share" of the costs) would increase.
Of course, most municipalities are facing the challenge of rising costs, both conventional inflation and cost pressures from such issues as downloading, increased regulation and climate change. But the principles are the same if your city institutes a 3% tax increase; if your property value increases by the same as the average, then you’ll face the 3% budget increase. Most properties, though, will face assessment increases either higher or lower than the average (and a few will see decreases).
Changes in property values do not change the overall tax levy. Instead, the City adjusts the tax rate to offset the average increase in assessed values to only to generate the amount of money needed to run the City’s operations.
How the value of your property changes in comparison to the average for other properties in Coquitlam affects the amount of tax you will pay on your property. To set the municipal tax rate, the City of Coquitlam examines the average increase in assessed values for each property class within the City. If you have a higher-than-average change in property value, you may experience a bigger increase than the tax rate approved by Council. Likewise, if the value of your property increased less than the average, you may see a lower increase than rate approved by Council.
The 2020 average residential assessment decreased by -10.21%. If your assessment went down by the average this would result in a 2.98% municipal tax increase.
The 2020 average commercial assessment decreased by -0.71%. If you assessment went down by the average this would result in a 1.98% municipal tax increase.
This is among the lowest tax increase in over two decades.
You can search the assessed value of any property in British Columbia online; just visit the BC Assessment website and type in the address. For questions or concerns regarding your property’s assessed value, contact BC Assessment at 1-866-825-8322 (1-866-VALUE BC).
Tax rates on commercial properties can raise or lower rates, depending on the classification of the property (charitable status) and new buildings added to the assessment roll can lower property tax rates.