Potential Property Tax Relief For Local Businesses

Currently, businesses located on a future development site such as 4th Avenue in Vancouver, pay an inequitable amount of property tax.

Why? The lot is valued as a development site, which is worth more than the investment value (Net income/cap rate).

The Provincial government has introduced an Act to give commercial tenants a break, taking their lead from previously introduced legislation by the BC Liberals.

The Act may be found using the following link:


This Act gives powers to municipalities to create a Bylaw that proposes a “reduced tax rate” on eligible land with a classification of 05 or 06.

To qualify, the land must:

  1. Include an improvement in use.
  2. Have an improvement value of less than 5% of the total value.

There are certain exceptions.

  1. In the future, if a property has had 4 years of relief.
  2. Class 02, 03, 04, 07, 08, or 09. Of note, gardens, parks, and major industrial use. (https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/438_81)
  3. Properties exempted by another bylaw created by Section 198 of the Community Charter (https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/03026_07#section198)
  4. Properties exempted under 197(1)(a)

#3 & #4 appear to be housekeeping to avoid a property obtaining two exemptions.

Issues that will arise:

  • What is an improvement? Does it include parking lots?
  • Should we appeal improvements that are too high?
  • Will any particular municipality bring in the bylaw? It is not mandatory. The Act says “may” impose taxes at a reduced rate.

If you have any questions, please call Peter Austin at 604-733-3282, or email at paustin@telus.net