Vancouver Property Taxes, Explained

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Alannah Koene is a writer based in Victoria, BC, that writes engaging web content for clients, specializing in finance, health and fitness, and marketing. She has worked with clients such as Tinuiti, Resume Builder, and 8x8.

Alannah Koene is a writer based in Victoria BC that writes engaging web content for clients, specializing in finance, health and fitness, and marketing. She has worked with clients such as Tinuiti, Resume Builder, and 8x8.

If you are a first time property owner in Vancouver, BC, you may be wondering if and how property tax applies to you. Property tax is the amount paid by property owners to a local or municipal government, so if you own, lease, or gain an interest on property located in Vancouver, you are obligated to pay property tax. Below, you'll find everything you need to know about property tax, property tax rates in Vancouver, and how Vancouver's tax rates compare to other major Canadian cities.

What is a property tax?

Property owners in Vancouver must be paid yearly for each applicable property. The Vancouver municipality determines the tax owed, and the amount paid to your tax office is used to fund your community services.

What is a property tax notice?

As somebody who owns, leases, or gains interest on properties in Vancouver, you will receive two tax notices. You will first receive an advance tax notice in November, which indicates part of the property tax that you owe and the value of which is calculated by 50% of last year's total property taxes after grant amounts.

The main tax notice is delivered in June and indicates the outstanding balance for the year. It includes information such as:

  • Annual balance, including a City of Vancouver general levy, taxes from other tax authorities, and flat-rate utility charges

  • Total owed property tax balance

  • Home owner grants that you may qualify for

  • Payment information

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How is property tax determined?

The property tax rate is calculated by the amount required to provide community services, or in other words, it is determined exactly by whatever is needed to balance the budget as the City of Vancouver is unable to tax more than they require.

Prior to receiving your tax notice, you will receive a property assessment notice. This notice will tell you what the BC Assessment has determined about the value, classification, and possible exemptions for your property. There are a few characteristics accounted for in the assessment of your property, including:

  • Property location

  • Age and condition of structures and buildings

  • Topography

  • Use of property

  • Value according to property sales in the area

  • Size and shape of land

Property tax rates are applied to your property's taxable value according to the property assessment, and you owe whatever the calculated total is. So, if the tax rate is $8.00 per $1000 of your property's taxable value, and your property value is $100 000, then you will owe $800 annually.

Tax rates are adjusted each year to match the shifting costs of provided community services. You can't appeal the property tax rate, but you may be able to appeal your property assessment. The appeal process may result in either an increase or decrease in the assessed value of your property and the amount of taxes owed.

Late property tax payment is penalized at 5%. If property taxes go unpaid for three years, the property will be listed for sale.

What does property tax pay for?

We've mentioned that property tax is calculated based on the funds needed to provide community services, but what kinds of services does that include?

Property tax helps to fund:

  • Police and fire protection

  • Emergency rescue services

  • Schools

  • Libraries

  • Garbage services

  • Hospitals

  • Recreation, parks, and community centres

What are the property tax rates in Vancouver?

Property tax rates in Vancouver are calculated by combining the variety of service levies. You'll remember from earlier sections that, as a property owner, you pay the following dollar amounts in tax for every $1000 of your property's taxable value.

Residents and business owners both pay property tax, but the rate at which they are taxed depends on whether the property type is residential or commercial so as to best promote local economic growth.

Vancouver Property Tax Rates 2020

Levy (per $1000 taxable value) ResidentialCommercial
General Purpose Tax Levy$1.58076$4.47887
Provincial School Tax$0.99877$1.13968
Translink$0.25337$0.87687
BC Assessment Authority$0.04288$0.11313
Greater Vancouver Regional District$0.04970$0.12177
Municipal Finance Authority$0.00020$0.00051
Total$2.92568$6.74083

Additional Provincial School Tax Rate

$0 to $3 million - $0.00000

$3 to $ 4million - $2.00000

$4 million or more - $4.00000

How does Vancouver compare to other cities?

The average tax rate for 2020 across major Canadian cities is $8.98. Vancouver is well below that average at $2.93 and has the lowest rate of the list. In comparison, Halifax property owners pay $11.96. With a low commercial tax rate of $6.731 compared to the average of $24.57 across major cities, Vancouver still has a medium commercial-to-residential ratio of 2.3 compared to an average of 2.652.

While Vancouver has had among the lowest rates for several years, the residential rate increased by 14.2%, marking the largest increase across major cities. The commercial rate was reduced by 27.9%, marking the greatest overall reduction by any city in 2020 and continuing Vancouver's downwards commercial tax rate trend. This is due to the city alleviating some commercial property owners' tax burdens and transferring it to residential owners.

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Last Updated January 11, 2021

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