Commercial tax levy increases for 2021

Commercial property owners will notice increases in their 2021 taxes payable primarily due to the elimination of a one-time tax reduction offered last year as part of the province’s COVID-19 Action Plan.

This tax relief to support businesses during the pandemic in 2020 resulted in an average reduction of approximately 25% in the total property tax payable for most businesses through a cut to the school tax rate for non-residential (commercial) properties.

For 2021, the school tax rate for commercial property owners has returned to 3.86, which is a similar rate to pre-pandemic years. In 2020, the one-time school tax reduction lowered the rate to 1.107.

Financial support available for business owners/commercial tenants

We appreciate that some businesses may require financial support to pay their taxes on time during the pandemic. The federal government and the province of BC have offered financial support programs that can assist businesses to pay their 2021 property taxes.

Many of these programs have fast-approaching application deadlines. A summary of these federal and provincial programs is available at DNV.org/COVID19-support.

Key financial assistance programs to consider

  • Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) - a federal program that can provide interest-free loans of $20,000 up to a maximum of $60,000 for eligible small businesses and not-for-profits to help cover operating costs. Application deadline is June 30, 2021. If the interest-free loan is repaid by December 31, 2022, up to $20,000 or 33% will be forgiven. CEBA is available through most financial institutions.
  • Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant - Province of British Columbia - a provincial program with grants of $10,000 to $30,000 available. Businesses only need to show a 30% revenue loss since March 2020 to the point of application when compared to the same one-month period in 2019. There is assistance available to prepare an application. Application deadline is July 2, 2021.
  • Regional Relief and Recovery Fund - Funding for businesses affected by COVID-19 that do not qualify for other federal pandemic support programs. Applications will be accepted until June 30, 2021.

Commercial property owners and tenants who may be responsible for property tax payment should review this information.