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Published On: Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Impact of Commercial Taxes vs. Residential

The Impact of Commercial Taxes vs. Residential

- Catherine Holt is the CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at 250.383.7191, or CEO@victoriachamber.ca, www.victoriachamber.ca.

GREATER VICTORIA - From Sooke to Sidney, we love our local shops and services. We take pride in the labours of our home-grown artisans and craftspeople. We celebrate the successes family-run businesses and our local start-ups. We live in a beautiful, vibrant community where the 100-mile diet is effortless - and delicious.

So the next time you visit your local storefront, regardless whether it is for a coffee, window-shopping or for some professional advice, ask yourself why this business is paying up to six times more than you as a resident for municipal administration and service, e.g. fire and police protection, libraries, roads, sewer and water, etc. These local businesses have to pass the cost of taxes they pay on to their clients and customers – you. These taxes therefore contribute to your high cost of living in Greater Victoria.

BC municipalities typically charge properties in Business/Other Class a multiple over Residential. In Greater Victoria, the multiple ranges from a multiple of two to a multiple of six.

Earlier this year, we asked each of Greater Victoria's 13 municipalities why businesses are expected to pay more for the same services. No-one - mayors, councillors, or city staff - gave us a rationale.

Certainly, expecting businesses to pay more than residents is not tied to higher consumption. For example, a 2007 report by MMK Consulting for the City of Vancouver found that, on average, residential properties in Vancouver paid $0.56 in property taxes for each dollar of tax-supported services consumed, while non-residential properties paid $2.42 for every dollar of tax-supported services they consumed. While this report is dated, the issue is not. We anticipate a similar study of Greater Victoria municipalities would find the same results.

Over the coming weeks, The Chamber will be calculating residential and business property owners' July tax bill for each Greater Victoria municipality. We will share our analysis within our membership, with fellow chambers of commerce and boards of trade across BC, and with local and provincial elected officials and decision-makers.

Municipal governments should be accountable to all taxpayers. Their taxation practices and policies should be transparent. We need a broader discussion on the current taxation of commercial properties, and its impact on all of us.

  • Upcoming Events
    • Thursday, June 22 | June Business Mixer with the Victoria HarbourCats | Royal Athletic Park (1014 Calendonia St.)