Not again, why do I have to go through this every year?

Authority BC Assessment

Not everyone agrees with BC Assessment’s valuation of their property and there are several ways for property owners to dispute the valuation. Chen went through those processes each year for several consecutive years and he was getting fed up. He contended that BC Assessment had undervalued his property. It was not that he wanted to pay more taxes; his concern was that realtors in his area reportedly would not list properties for more than 10% above the assessed value. Chen said he had paid $130,000 for his property and had made improvements. Property values had been relatively stable in his area and he thought BC Assessment’s valuations that went as low as $75,000 were not supportable. Each year he challenged the assessment and each year it was adjusted upward only to dive again the next year. He wondered why he had to keep complaining and why BC Assessment did not take into account the adjustments that were made in previous years.

BC Assessment’s 2009 valuation of his property was $90,900. Chen provided information about his property to BC Assessment and his property was reassessed at $144,200. The next year, BC Assessment valued the property at $74,700. Chen complained and the assessment was adjusted to $140,000. When Chen received his property assessment at the end of 2011, he was frustrated to see that BC Assessment had again valued his property well below the assessments that were eventually established in the previous years. He knew that he could dispute the assessment again and he did, but he did not think it was reasonable that he should have to do so year after year for the same property.

We investigated to ensure that the process followed by BC Assessment was fair and reasonable. In discussions with BC Assessment regarding similar complaints, we were told that Property Assessment Review Panel and Appeal Board decisions were taken into consideration by BC Assessment as part of its annual assessment process. We drew this to BC Assessment’s attention and questioned whether this had happened in Chen’s case.

BC Assessment reviewed its records regarding Chen’s property assessment and discovered that the assessor had not properly recorded information regarding Chen’s home. This error was the main cause of the reductions in his assessment. The error was corrected and the assessor wrote a letter of apology to Chen. In that letter, he advised that he would be taking steps to minimize the likelihood of similar errors by reviewing the matter with the appraiser involved and his supervisor. The assessor also wrote that he would also review procedures with the deputy assessor in the regional office to ensure that information obtained in the resolution of appeals is properly recorded and that decisions of the Property Assessment Review Panels are considered when assessed values are determined for subsequent years. Chen thanked us for the resolution to his complaint.

Category Housing and Property
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2012
Location The Interior