The BC Assessment Authority has said that property owners in Kamloops and the surrounding area can expect to see their 2023 assessments up by 10 to 15 per cent over last year, but some people are seeing increases that are far higher, and many are indicating that they will be appealing their assessments.
In Clinton, assessments are up by an average of 41 per cent, meaning that a single family home that was valued at $176,000 in 2022 is now valued at $248,000. However, former Clinton mayor Susan Swan says that her 1960 duplex has increased its value by 140 per cent, according to BC Assessment.
Swan says that when she phoned BC Assessment she was told the increase was based on the sale of similar properties in Clinton. However, she says there are three duplexes in Clinton and none of them have sold. She spoke with one other duplex owner, who told Swan that her assessment had gone up by 139 per cent.
“So what are they basing it on?” Swan asks of the assessment, adding that she was going to be in touch with the Kamloops Assessment office.
On Jan. 4, Swan noted on Facebook that after two phone calls and an email to BC Assessment regarding the huge increase in the assessment on her duplex, she received the following reply: “It seems there has been a keying error on our end. Please submit an appeal before January 31, 2023 so we can review further and correct this for you.”
She responded, asking why individual property owners are responsible for appealing to fix a mistake made by BC Assessment. Their reply was “We do seem to have an error that affects your property and are working to resolve it. January is a very busy month for us and we will be looking at this issue in February after the January 31st deadline for appeals has passed. It is your decision to appeal and doing so is just a safe guard that your property will be reviewed. I hope this helps.”
Swan notes that this means “It is up to us to appeal if we do not agree with the assessment of our property!”
The 2023 assessments reflect market value as of July 1, 2022. Many people looking at their assessments are noting that B.C.’s formerly red hot housing market cooled off considerably in the second half of 2022, and are suggesting that the numbers captured on July 1 last year are not indicative of a property’s market value six months later.
“It is important to think about your assessment as what you could have sold your home for around July 1 of the past year and not necessarily in today’s real estate market,” says Thompson area Assessor Tracy Shymko. When estimating a property’s market value, BC Assessment’s professional appraisers analyze current sales in the area, as well as considering other characteristics such as size, age, quality, condition, view and location.
Clinton is not the only community in the region with an increase significantly above the 10 to 15 per cent average. In Sun Peaks, assessments are up an average of 44 per cent over last year, while in Clearwater assessments are up by 29 per cent. Barriere is up 21 percent, Chase is up by 19 per cent, Ashcroft is up by 15 per cent, Cache Creek and Merritt are up by 14 per cent, and Logan Lake is up by 13 per cent.
Homeowners have until Jan. 31 to appeal their 2023 assessment notice. BC Assessment’s website at www.bcassessment.ca includes more details about 2023 assessments, as well as answers to many assessment-related questions. Those who feel that their property assessment does not reflect market value as of July 1, 2022, or who see incorrect information on their notice, should contact BC Assessment as indicated on their notice as soon as possible in January.
If a property owner is still concerned about their assessment after speaking to an appraiser, they can submit a Notice of Complaint (Appeal) by Jan. 31, 2023 for an independent review by a Property Assessment Review Panel. These panels, which are independent of BC Assessment, are appointed annually by the provincial government, and typically meet between Feb. 1 and March 15 to hear formal complaints.
In addition to the website, property owners can contact BC Assessment toll-free at 1-866-valueBC (1-866-825-8322). During the month of January, hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.
On its website, and on the property assessment notices themselves, BC Assessment tries to educate people about the correlation between their property assessment and the actual taxes they pay, noting that a 17 per cent assessment increase does not mean taxes will go up by 17 per cent.
“It is important to understand that increases in property assessments do not automatically translate into a corresponding increase in property taxes,” Shymko explains. “As noted on your Assessment Notice, how your assessment changes relative to the average change in your community is what may affect your property taxes.”
Taxes are typically only affected if a property is above the average value change for your community. Properties at or below the average value change will probably not see their taxes affected, or could see a slight decrease.
This year’s 10 to 15 per cent average increase in Kamloops and area assessments is the second year in a row that property assessments in the region have shown a sharp increase. In 2022, assessments in the region — based on property values as of July 1, 2021 — increased by an average of 30 per cent, while in 2021 assessments in the region increased by an average of zero to 10 per cent.
With files from Fiona Griswell.