Today, the BC Government announced new COVID-19 supports for businesses and local governments by reducing most commercial property tax bills by an average of 25%, and addressing cash flow and revenue shortfalls for local government.
“The Surrey Board of Trade, a member of the Premier’s Economic Task Force on COVID-19, has called for property tax delays and rent abatement strategies for businesses to instigate cash flow and liquidity that businesses need during the pandemic,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.
“We applaud the announcements today to help business and local governments, however, the continued proliferation of cash flow setbacks for some businesses might also mean they won’t be able to pay their property taxes on October 1. A strategy with due consideration needs to be put in place for these businesses to remain open without penalty so that they can enhance their revenues that were reduced due to COVID-19 impacts.”
Many jurisdictions in the Lower Mainland have approved budgets that include increased property taxes.
The Province is taking significant new steps to support BC businesses, non-profits and other organizations through the COVID-19 pandemic by:
- further reducing the school property tax rate for commercial properties to achieve an average 25% reduction in the total property tax bill for most businesses, providing up to $700 million in relief. This enhances the 50% reduction to the provincial school property tax rate that was originally announced for classes 4, 5, and 6 as part of BC’s COVID-19 Action Plan.
- Postponing the date that late payment penalties apply for commercial properties in classes 4,5,6,7 and 8 to Oct. 1, 2020, to give businesses and landlords more time to pay their reduced property tax, without penalty.
Responding to key concerns from local governments, the Province is addressing cash flow and revenue shortfalls with new measures that provide additional support:
- authorizing local governments to borrow, interest-free, from their existing capital reserves to help pay for operating expenses, such as employee salaries.
- delaying provincial school tax remittances until the end of the year. This will provide significant relief to local governments facing cash flow issues.
- providing local governments greater flexibility to carry debt for an additional year.
- These measures will provide local governments with the resources to meet their operational costs and required remittances to regional districts, regional hospital districts, TransLink and transit authorities, BC Assessment, the Municipal Finance Authority and other taxing authorities. This will ensure that other minor taxing authorities can count on receiving the full amount they bill to municipalities and the Province’s surveyor of taxes before Aug. 1, 2020.