About your property assessment, tax rate, and tax notice

In addition to the amount of municipal taxes you owe, your property tax notice includes utility user fees and taxes collected for other agencies on your behalf.

Here are the details of those additional amounts, along with information about how your taxes are calculated.

Understanding your property assessment and tax rate

Your property assessment is calculated by BC Assessment, a provincial crown corporation that classifies and values properties throughout BC.

While municipal governments don't control these assessments, we use the valuations to calculate the amount of property tax payable for each property, as required by law. Residential taxes are based on the total average assessed value for all residential properties in the District.

How property assessment increases impact property taxes

There are a number of factors that can affect your property assessment. Renovating your home, for instance, can lead to an increase in value. Sales of properties in your neighbourhood can also lead to an increase, as BC Assessment uses market data to determine property value.

Real estate values have increased drastically, resulting in an average increase of 35.5% in the 2017 assessed values.

Graph showing the change in assessment percentages in the District
An increase in your assessment does not mean an equal increase in your property tax

But does this mean a big tax increase?

An increase in your property's assessed value does not mean you will see a corresponding increase in your property taxes.

​As this graph shows, over a five-year period, our property tax increase has remained consistent at about 3% (2% for inflation and 1% for replacing ageing infrastructure).

How property taxes are calculated

Graph showing the change in assessment percentages in the District
The average increase in assessed value across all of the residential properties in the District is 35.5%


How much your property taxes change from year to year depends on the change in your assessment value relative to the rest of residential properties in the District.

If your assessment value increased above the District average, you will see a higher than average increase in property taxes, and vice versa.

The method for calculating the annual tax levy for each property is set by provincial legislation.

The average increase in assessed value across all of the residential properties in the District is 35.5%. 88% of residential properties in the District increased between 20% and 50% in value.

How property assessments impact your overall tax bill

The tax notice you receive each year has three components:

  1. Other agencies — Levies we collect on behalf of Metro Vancouver, Translink, and the Province of BC for school tax
  2. Municipal taxes — Annually adjusted levies for municipal services and infrastructure maintenance/replacement
  3. Utility user fees — Flat rate fees for water, sewer, garbage, and recycling. 43% of this fee goes directly to Metro Vancouver

Only #1 and #2 are based on your property's assessed value.

Each year, we develop a financial plan to determine the cost of providing all of our services to the community. By provincial legislation we are only allowed to collect the amount of tax we need to deliver that plan.

Our financial plan must be approved by Council.

Taxes we collect on behalf of other agencies

The Provincial Government (school taxes)

As a property owner, you are required to pay school taxes, to fund the public education system. Paying school tax is not based on whether or not you actually use the school system, but on the assumption that we all benefit from a strong public school system.

Under the School Act the province sets the tax rate and we are responsible for levying and collecting those taxes on their behalf.

Learn more about school taxes

BC Assessment Authority

We also collect taxes on behalf of BC Assessment, to help fund their annual independent assessment of all properties in BC.

Find out more about BC Assessment Authority

Metro Vancouver

Metro Vancouver is responsible for the Lower Mainland's regional services (water, sewer, solid waste, regional parks). 

We collect taxes on their behalf  which go toward funding the daily administration of their mandate. They also bill us for utility services, which represent a portion of the total utilities you pay on your tax bill.

Learn more about Metro Vancouver

TransLink

​TransLink is responsible for planning, financing, and managing our region's transportation services. They also share responsibility with Metro Vancouver municipalities for the major road network and cycling infrastructure.

We collect taxes on their behalf to offset both local transportation projects and the major initiatives that take place across the region.​

Get more details on property taxes and transportation

The Municipal Finance Authority

The Municipal Finance Authority (MFA) provides long-term, interim, and capital equipment financing to regional districts and their member municipalities.

The MFA has the highest municipal bond rating in North America, allowing BC communities to finance infrastructure at the lowest possible rates.

Learn more about MFA

How the municipal property tax system works

There are two key factors that affect your municipal taxes:

  • Revenue requirement — the amount of money we need to provide services and infrastructure for the year
  • Assessment base — the total assessed value of all properties in the District

How we determine the revenue requirement

The Community Charter mandates that, annually, each municipality must adopt a financial plan and balanced budget before setting its tax rate.

To do this, we conduct an extensive annual review of costs and non-tax revenue sources, in order to determine the tax revenue required.

This annual review is conducted through an open, public process.

How we determine the assessment base

BC Assessment is a provincial crown corporation that classifies and values each property in the province, to provide a stable base for property taxation in BC.

The assessment base is determined each year by using BC Assessments, which are based on market values as of July of the previous year .

Using the revenue requirement and assessment base to calculate tax rate

We divide our revenue requirement by the assessment base to come up with a municipal tax rate.

That tax rate is then applied to every property, based on individual assessments, to come up with each person's municipal tax payable. We also collect annual municipal utility charges and taxes on behalf of other agencies.

Example

District revenue requirement $85,000,000
Assessment base  $36,000,000,000
Tax rate (revenue requirement divided by assessment base) 0.236%
Your property assessment $1,000,000
Your municipal tax payable (property assessment x 0.236% tax rate) $2,360 (a)
Taxes collected for other agencies (your assessment x 0.187% rate) $1,870 (b)
Utility user fees $1,500 (c)
Total charges for taxes and utility (a+b+c) $5,730

Your utility user fees

Fees pay for both District utilities and the District's share of Metro Vancouver's utility operation and infrastructure costs.

Fees collected on behalf of Metro Vancouver represent 43% of a total utility budget of $57 million, and are not within municipal discretion.

The District continues to manage utility fees in alignment with capital requirements and reserve needs. The 2017 utility rates support the cost of providing current levels of service and the condition of the existing infrastructure as per our asset management plans.

2017 utility budget (in millions)

Costs District Metro Total
Water 12.1 13.2 25.3
Sewer/drainage 13.4 9.3 22.7
Solid waste 4.2 1.9 6.1
Recycling 2.8 0.1 2.9
Total $32.5 $24.5 $57.0
Percentage 57% 43% 100%