Business Paying Unfair Share of School Taxes says CFIB
Prince George, B.C. – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says the difference between what residents pay in the way of school taxes and what businesses pay in B.C. is alarming.
The school tax rate is the same throughout the province for businesses. That is not the case for residential property owners where the rate could fluctuate based on the total number of residences and the assessed property values. The CFIB looked at 161 communities in B.C. and labelled the difference between what a business pays and residential property owners pay as the “school tax gap”, so for example, a community that has a “gap” of 2 means businesses in that community are paying twice the amount of school taxes as a residential property owner with the same assessed property value.
This is one tax study which puts Prince George in a good light, as the report says P.G. has the lowest gap among communities examined with populations over 50 thousand. The P,G. “gap ” is 1.94. and that the “gap” dropped by 0.7 between 2014 and 2015, and decreased 6.1 over five years.
The CFIB says the system is unfair particularly in communities with high real estate values, meaning business owners in the lower mainland are paying what the CFIB calls a disproportionate share of school taxes.
“CFIB has long tracked the inequity in municipal property taxes. However, this report shows the problem is just as bad in the provincial school tax system,” notes Aaron Aerts, BC Economist. “This report provides clear evidence businesses are on the hook for an unreasonable amount of the school tax bill. The provincial government needs to take a close look at how it sets tax rates, as the current system places an unfair burden on many small businesses.”
Aerts says while there have been some decreases in the “gap” over the past five years, there is still a lot of work to be done to improve the system “Some businesses continue to pay over three or four times more than residents on the same property value,”