For the 2015 Assessment Roll, BC Assessment undertook a project to verify Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) status and property tax exemption coding on a province-wide basis for all properties over two acres. This reassessment project reviewed 62,000 properties in the ALR.
Improvements in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) spatial technology allowed BC Assessment to complete a mass review, comparing property boundaries in our system to the ALR boundaries. Prior to these GIS improvements, the only way to audit ALR coding was via manual review using paper ALR boundary maps provided to BC Assessment by the ALC. In some instances, those maps were not current; thus they did not reflect the prevailing ALR boundaries.
The review conducted identified areas across the province where boundaries were not aligned. Correcting the boundaries has resulted in change of property status (ALR coding) and tax exemption coding for a number of properties. As this review took place in 2014, BC Assessment’s practice is to apply the identified changes to the upcoming assessment year and not retroactively. Hence, these changes will be effective for the 2015 Assessment Roll.
About ALR Tax Exemptions:
The ALR tax exemption is applied to properties which are wholly or partially within the ALR and subject to restrictions set out within Sections 18 – 20 & 28 of the Agricultural Land Commission Act, which limits the use of a property within the ALR to farm and residential use and prohibits subdivision of the property without the consent of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC). This exemption provides property owners with a 50% exemption on the school taxes applied to the assessed value of the Land for all or portions of the property which is within the boundaries of the ALR.
As part of BC Assessment’s quality assurance commitment to its customers, BC Assessment regularly conducts audits, reviews, and market analysis to ensure that assessments are accurate, fair and equitable. More information about BC Assessment is available at: www.bcassessment.ca
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