LETTER: Property assessments going through the roof

They’ve done it again. Last year the government increased the assessed value of the property we have been on for the last 15 years by over 20 per cent. This year there is a 15 per cent increase.

Many years ago the government assumed that the estimated value of residential property for tax purposes indicated the ability of the owner to pay property taxes. For the majority of the population this may still be true. However, for elderly property owners with relatively fixed incomes which do not increase at 15 per cent or 20 per cent annually, the payment of increased property taxes becomes an ever increasing burden.

The current system used by the government to determine the monetary value of real estate is quite arbitrary and is subject to manipulation and abuse. This needs to change.

The following is suggested: Saanich should annually increase the amount of the old age deductible from property taxes based on the annual percentage increase in the rate of inflation. The B.C. government should base its annual assessed value of a real estate property for tax purposes on the most recent past sale value of that property adjusted annually based on a factor related to the annual rate of provincial monetary inflation or other factor related to the population’s ability to pay property taxes. Annual improvements and depreciation should also be considered.

David Ward

Saanich

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