First Nations Tax Commission – Commission de la fiscalité des premières nations
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24th Mar 2019 | by: FNTC

Mobile Home Assessments

Leading up to the preparation of the 2019 First Nation assessment rolls, BC Assessment conducted a review of all Mobile Home assessments on Vancouver Island. This review included verification of all existing mobile home improvements using both aerial imagery and on-site inspections, and a review of the land assessments for those homes, including research of comparable fee simple sales of mobile homes off reserve. The result was significant increases for mobile home assessments.

This assessment review was necessary because the 2018 Assessment Review Boards for both the Songhees Nation and the Tsawout First Nation indicated that BC Assessment should be using the same approach to valuation for mobile homes as it uses for other residential properties. While land assessments for single family dwellings located within these First Nation jurisdictions were similar to the assessments of comparable property assessments off reserve, the Board noted that land assessments of mobile home occupiers were lower and that this resulted in inequity in the assessments. In their decisions, the Assessment Review Boards
found that BC Assessment should be using a direct comparison approach when valuing mobile homes, and strongly urged the Assessor to correct the mobile home assessments for the 2019 Rolls.

The assessment increases were communicated to the mobile home occupiers through a Pre-Roll Letter delivered in early December 2018, followed by the formal Assessment Notice in early January 2019. BC Assessment recently held taxpayer information meetings at both the Songhees Nation and the Tsawout First Nation.

BC Assessment is currently responding to inquiries from individual mobile home occupiers on Vancouver Island. BC Assessment expects numerous reconsideration requests and also anticipates appeals resulting from the increase in assessments. BC Assessment will provide an appraisal report to the appropriate Assessment Review Boards in defence of each appeal.

New Assessments for Billboards

BC Assessment conducted a Billboard Assessment Review that included identifying all existing billboards and conducting the land and improvement assessments for these occupations. This project was contemplated for a number of years, during which time BC Assessment researched the best assessment methodology to use. BC Assessment has implemented both a direct comparison and an income approach to valuation in order to assess the land on which billboards are located. This required extensive research into both off reserve comparable sales and lease documentation available on reserve. The billboard improvements have been assessed using a depreciated cost of replacement approach. It is important to note that BC Assessment is assessing the occupation of these lands and improvements and not the value associated with an advertising business.

Leading up to the final delivery of the 2019 Assessment Notices, BC Assessment notified affected First Nations and the billboard operators. Considering the unique nature of these assessments, BC Assessment expects that there may be appeals.

Moving Forward

BC Assessment is hopeful that both these initiatives will be met with success when any appeals are heard by the appropriate Assessment Review Boards and their decisions are delivered. BC Assessment is currently considering expanding these changes to all other First Nation customers throughout the Province and will plan accordingly. An important part of that plan will include communication with property occupiers and each affected First Nation. Success will depend on open lines of communication between BC Assessment and the affected First Nations, including provision of the necessary information that assists BC Assessment in correctly creating the annual assessment rolls. For the Billboard Assessment Review, BC Assessment depends heavily on information provided by the First Nation, and asks that all of its FMA and Indian Act customers obtain lease documentation for billboard occupations and send that information to BC Assessment as soon as possible.

For more information on the assessment or mobile homes, or to provide billboard information, please contact BC Assessment at firstnations@bcassessment.ca.

 

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