Frequently Asked Questions - Property Taxes

Answers

  1. How do Courtenay’s taxes compare to other similar communities?

    Courtenay’s property taxes are within the range of other comparable local governments. The following graph from 2018 shows how Courtenay compares to other communities in the region. Please note that due to Courtenay’s population size, some external costs and services are mandated by other levels of government at a higher rate than other smaller communities in the region.  For example, Courtenay’s RCMP policing contract charges our community 90 percent of the cost to provide the service, while other smaller communities pay 70 percent or less for the same service.  Courtenay’s water distribution system is also required by the province to operate at a higher level of service than systems operated by smaller jurisdictions. (Courtenay operates a Class 4 Water Distribution System, the highest level possible.)

    Taxes & Charges on a Representative Home - 2018 Comparative
    (Information from Government of BC - Local Government Statistics)

     

  2. Are there programs that provide assistance with taxes?

    The Province of B.C.’s Property Tax Deferment program is designed to assist qualifying homeowners in British Columbia with paying annual property taxes on their principal residence through low-interest loans. Programs are available for ages 55 and over, surviving spouse of any age, or persons with disabilities, as well as families with children. Learn more

  3. Where does the City’s revenue come from?

    About half of the City’s total operating revenues are collected though taxation. Other sources include fees and charges, federal and provincial government grants, and transfers from reserves and surplus.

  4. Where do my taxes go?

    The overall city budget is developed based on the cost of delivering services to residents. Taxes collected by the City of Courtenay support fire and police services, road maintenance, parks, administration, recreation, and cultural facilities. Of the property taxes collected by the City of Courtenay, just over half remains with the city. The rest is collected on behalf of other taxing authorities, such as the Comox Valley Regional District, schools, hospital, BC Assessment, Vancouver Island Regional Library, and Municipal Finance Authority.  The city does not control these charges.

    Utilities, such as water, sewer, and solid waste services, are generally self-funding; costs for the service are directly related to the cost of providing the service to those that use the service.

  5. How does my property assessment affect my taxes?

    It’s important to note that a property assessment increase doesn’t necessarily result in a significant increase to property taxes. What matters is how an individual property assessment changed in comparison to the average change in property assessments in the municipality.

    In 2019, the average Courtenay single-family home increased in value by 17 percent. A property owner with a larger than average property assessment increase could see an increase to their city property taxes, while someone with a lower than average assessment increase could potentially experience a property tax decrease, depending on the tax rate.

    Learn more: Understanding Property Assessments and Your Taxes

    image source: BC Assessment