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BOMA has been an advocate for split class assessments for some time. As you may know, buildings in high growth areas are assessed at very high residential values, but then are classed as commercial properties with much higher mill rates. This is especially true in Vancouver where the ratio between commercial and residential rates is 4.5:1. We have argued that these properties should be “classed as they are valued” to ensure there is a level of fairness and we are pleased the City is now considering this recommendation.

BOMA is not opposed to a Tax Deferral Program, similar to the residential program, as it would allow owners to defer taxes until redevelopment occurs. This could assist store and building owners in some situations. However, if the overall high tax burden for these properties is not resolved, the problem is only being delayed.

Extending Tax Averaging would slow down property tax increases in areas where land values are increasing rapidly. However, if the land values do not decrease, taxes will eventually increase to the point when many small businesses will not be able to continue. It is not a solution to the pressing issues of tax inequity.

BOMA is supportive of the recommendation for a Province-led Intergovernmental Working Group of provincial, municipal, and BC Assessment officials working with stakeholder groups to find and develop mechanisms to reduce the growing tax burden on small businesses in Vancouver and other communities. We plan to participate in this working group to advance your priorities for fair taxation. If you have ideas on how to better apply property taxes across BC, please feel free to share your information with Muneesh Sharma, Director of Government Affairs at muneesh@boma.bc.ca.