Published On: Thursday, 01 December 2016

Victoria Chamber: Property Taxes Do Not Stand Test for Value

Victoria Chamber: Property Taxes Do Not Stand Test for Value

- The Victoria Chamber focuses on the business perspective on issues that impact of the vitality of the business community. They represent the business voice in a regional context to the municipal governments of the Capital Region.

GREATER VICTORIA - The new report by the independent Commission on Tax Competitiveness was recently presented to the Minister of Finance to further enhance competitiveness for businesses in BC.

The Commission found that the single-most important issue facing BC businesses is the province’s current Provincial Sales Tax (PST) structure – a sentiment reflected by the BC Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce (Chamber).

The Chamber was pleased to read the report’s short-term recommendations to address issues relating to the complex administration of the PST.

We were particularly pleased to read the report’s focus on the made-in-BC valued-added tax (VAT), which will simplify tax-related administration. The VAT will help strengthen our competitive position nationally and globally, helping to attract visitors, workers and investment to Greater Victoria, supporting local businesses.

We were disappointed; however, to read this statement in the report, “non-residential property taxation in BC does not affect business competitiveness generally”.

What we most often hear from local business leaders and owners is their commercial property taxes do not stand the test for value. We question whether a municipality can justify its decision that determines a business consumes up to four times more municipal services than a resident. (Ref: our 2016 commercial property taxes table, which illustrates the gap between residential and commercial property tax rates.)

The Chamber’s position is that fair and competitive residential and business taxes, a competitive cost of living, as well as a regional approach to economic development, contributes to a healthy, resilient and growing economy.