Apr 2011 27

Tax Redistribution Affects Homeowners

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Downtown Vancouver by Aya Otake Downtown Vancouver by Aya Otake

All residential taxpayers will be affected by 2011’s 3.88 per cent property tax increase. The City Council continues the taxation shifting plan they launched about four years ago. The tax levy is being partially transferred from non-residential and businesses to residential property owners in order to restore the desired balance. The shift should lower businesses’ tax bills by one per cent.

The forementioned tax reduction needs to be compensated for by residential taxpayers through a two per cent increase in their property taxes. Together with a planned 1.88 per cent net rise of tax levy for residential homeowners, Vancouverites will experience a doubled increase.

Councillors seem to be divided upon the matter of tax shifting. Businesses and the Vancouver Fair Tax Coalition see the tax shifting as necessary. Ed des Roches, co-chair of the coalition, said: “It is improving the balance. It was way off balance so we’re trying to correct indifference or inattention to the problem that led to this in the first place.” While VFTC took an affirmative stand, the Coalition of Progressive Electors councillors do not share this opinion. One of them, David Cadman, expresed his concerns about effects the shift might have on the residents: “I don’t think that the property taxes are such a large, onerous burden on the business community. The consequences are that we are stressing the residents in this city to pay for a reduction in taxes for businesses.”

The tax levy for a $877,000 house will rise, and the total property taxes will be $1,748. A commercial property’s bill will decrease by $163, and its overall property taxes will be $7,748.

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