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Property status change could cause dramatic tax increase for Richmond properties

BC Assessment won't comment on specific properties but says it's quite common to lose farm status.
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This Richmond property at 8500 No. 6 Rd. on a 10-acre lot, assessed at $8.474 million this year, up from about $128,000 last year.

Some properties in Richmond saw dramatic increases in their value this year, after apparently losing their farm status, and could see their property tax bills jump.

A property at 12777 No. 3 Rd., located in the Agricultural Land Reserve, was assessed $136,850 last year and paid about $2,200 in taxes. This year, its assessed value jumped to about $10.5 million, and if the tax rate remains around the same (this depends on what Richmond city council sets the rate at), it could pay about $35,000 in taxes if its status is residential.

For a farm to qualify for farm status, it needs to produce and sell agricultural goods.

The amount needed for farm status ranges on the size of the property, for example, the owner of a parcel smaller than two acres has to sell $10,000 in products, while those between two and 10 acres must sell $2,500.

Another property in Richmond whose assessed value jumped is located at 8500 No. 6 Rd. The 10-acre property went from $128,432 in value last year to $8.474 million this year.

The property paid $649 in taxes in 2020, but, again if tax rates remain similar to last year and its status is just residential, its owner could end up paying about $28,000 in taxes this year.

BC Assessment wouldn’t comment on specific properties, but Bryan Murao, a deputy assessor with the provincial agency, said the assessment changes were likely because of a change in classification.

Properties can move in and out of farm classification, and it’s quite common for properties to have farm classification removed, he said, for example, if farmers don't file their documents in time. 

However, Murao added, there are ways for farmers to appeal their assessments and get farm status reinstated. 

The provincial government announced last year, farm status could roll over automatically for properties if their farm-generated income was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other rules still apply, however, for example, farm status could be removed if there is some legal change like a lease expiring, explained Murao.