LETTER: Municipalities getting taxes wrong at assessment time

To the Editor,

If property assessments take a rise in property values, the mill rate from the previous year should be lowered or stay the same.

This is not happening.

What is happening is that when property assessments go up in value, municipal governments are raising the mill rate.

That is wrong and taxpayers are paying too much on their property taxes.

Property tax formula is assessment value times mill rate, divided by 1000. For example if the tax assessment is $500,000, the calculation is $500,000 x mill rate divided by 1000. In 2017 if the mill rate was six, the property tax would be $3,000. If this assessment went up to $550,000 keeping the mill rate the same as in 2016, the property tax would be $3,300. Raising the mill rate to 6.5 would make the property tax at $3,575, so in reality the rule of thumb, is never raise the mill rate when property assessments are on the increase.

The increase is automatic.

Also a rule of thumb is before paying your tax bill, check all of the assessments on the street you live on to compare your property to your neighbour’s property assessment. You will find some big surprises, letting you know that you are paying your taxes in July on bogus tax assessments. This info can be found on line under Evalue on the B.C. assessment site, or in your local library.

Joe Sawchuk,

Duncan

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