Burnaby Board of Trade Urges Province To Rethink Property Tax Solution That Misses the Mark

Recently, the provincial government introduced new legislation to help address the issue of soaring property tax bills faced by businesses.  Unfortunately, after reviewing this proposed solution, the Burnaby Board of Trade is urging the province to go back to the drawing board and come up with a fix that addresses the root cause of the problem: taxing based on the “highest and best use” of a property.

Under the current system, businesses are taxed based on the “highest and best use” of their property–not on what a property is currently used for but on its possible future redevelopment potential.   In addition, not only is the business taxed on this higher property value, but the tax rate applied is the much higher business/commercial rate.  This is causing some businesses to close or move away, and it has to stop.

The BBOT believes a split classification system, whereby the additional property value based on redevelopment potential would be taxed much lower, is the appropriate solution. Instead, the provincial government’s proposed solution fails to address this, and instead focuses only on mitigating triple-net-leases. Further, the provincial government did not provide local governments adequate time to implement this for tax year 2020 and as a result of these flaws, few local governments are expected to actually adopt the changes.

The BBOT does applaud the provincial government and Minister Selina Robinson for paying attention to this issue after years of businesses being ignored. However, if this solution doesn’t address the problem we’re trying to solve, and if our cities can’t adopt it, then our business community is no better off.

The BBOT will continue to lead the fight for changes to how property taxes are assessed for business in our city and right across BC.

Click here to see our ongoing efforts on this issue, and if you would like to share your thoughts on this issue, contact our Director of Policy Cory Redekop at cory@bbot.ca