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What's the deal with the School Tax?

Blog by Patricia Houlihan - Personal Real Estate Corporation | January 18th, 2019

What's the deal with the School Tax?

 A lot of people are asking me about the school tax-particularly as it applies to luxury homes...I won't get into the issue of whether we can really call a $3 million-dollar home in Vancouver "luxury" but here is the information from the Province's website. If you would like me to explain any issues or answer questions about it, please let me know.

 School Tax

School tax is one of the services you are charged for on your annual property tax notice.  The tax isn't based on if you or your family use the public or private school system. The education system benefits all B.C. residents including people without children in school. You pay school tax to share in the cost of providing education in B.C.

If your property is located within a municipality, you pay school tax to your municipal office. If your property is in a rural area, you pay school tax to the province’s Surveyor of Taxes.

School tax is charged on every property in B.C. unless the property qualifies for an exemption.

Tax Rates

Each year the province sets the residential school tax rate for each school district and is based equally on:

  1. The total number of residences in the district
  2. The total residential assessed value in the district

Generally, these rates decrease so that average provincial revenues per home only increase by B.C.'s CPI rate of inflation.

Each year the province sets the school tax rate for each non-residential property class. Generally, these rates decrease each year as average values within a property class rise faster than inflation.

Additional School Tax on High-Valued Properties

Starting in 2019, an additional school tax applies to most high-valued residential properties in the province, including:

  • Detached homes
  • Stratified condominium or townhouse units
  • Most vacant land

The additional school tax does not apply to non-stratified rental buildings with four or more housing units.

For mixed-use properties, only the residential portion of the property’s assessed value above $3 million will be taxable.

The additional tax rate is:

  • 0.2% on the residential portion assessed between $3 million and $4 million
  • 0.4% tax rate on the residential portion assessed over $4 million

BC Assessment determines if additional school tax applies. If you believe your property should be exempt from additional school tax, contact BC Assessment to discuss your concerns.

Patricia Houlihan LL.B, B.A