Ahead of the upcoming provincial election, Metro Vancouver has asked the four main political parties to commit to making major changes to the “antiquated” way property taxes are implemented across the province, including the homeowner grant, the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) and provincial school property tax.
“The system needs an urgent overhaul,” said Metro Vancouver vice-chair Raymond Louie.
The recommendation, issued this week, comes after a report commissioned by the Metro Vancouver Regional District found area homeowners pay three times more school property tax per household than homeowners in other areas of the province – $696 compared to $223 in other regions, and that Metro Vancouver’s share of total provincial PTT revenue increased from 68 per cent in 2010 to 75 per cent in 2016.
The report also notes that Metro Vancouver homeowners received $45 million less from the homeowner’s grant than did homeowners in the rest of the province, even though Metro Vancouver represents more than half of residential households in BC.
“Metro Vancouver residents are facing an inequitable tax burden because of an antiquated taxation system based on assessed property values,” said Greg Moore, the Metro Vancouver board chair.
Metro Vancouver’s recommendation calls on whichever party forms the next provincial government to adjust the homeowner’s grant threshold in the Metro Vancouver Regional District to ensure 91 per cent of qualified property owners access the full grant, on par with the rest of the province. Currently, 83 per cent of area homeowners qualify for the grant, and the change would make an additional 67,000 homes eligible for the full grant of $570–$845 per year.
The recommendation also urges the new government to calculate school property tax annually on a regional basis to reflect the provincial average threshold of school district expenditures, which was 46 per cent in 2016, and to invest unbudgeted revenue from PTT collected within Metro Vancouver into local government infrastructure, transit and affordable housing in the region.
Read the full report by Cascadia Strategy Consulting Partners Ltd.: Provincial Property-Based Taxes in the Metro Vancouver Regional District.