In light of COVID-19 impacting individuals and businesses across British Columbia, the BC provincial government and the federal government have recently announced new measures geared at addressing hardship in the real estate industry. Highlights include:
Reduction to School Tax Rates
The provincial government announced its “COVID-19 Action Plan” on March 23, 2020, which included a school property tax reduction by 50% for the 2020 tax year for class 4 (major industry), 5 (light industry) and 6 (business and other) businesses. This is intended to provide immediate relief for commercial and industrial businesses that own properties, with savings to be passed on by landlords to their tenants under triple-net leases.
On April 16, 2020, the provincial government announced further reductions beyond the 50% reduction to the school property tax rate for commercial properties. This further reduction is intended to achieve an overall 25% reduction in the total property tax bill for many businesses.
Extension to Late Payment Penalties Date
Additionally, the provincial government announced that it is postponing the late payment penalties application date for commercial properties in Classes 4, 5, 6, 7 (managed forest land), and 8 (recreational property/non-profit organization) to October 1, 2020. This is intended to provide businesses with additional time to defer their property taxes without incurring penalties.
Extension of Deadline to File Property Assessment Appeals:
In addition, the Property Assessment Appeal Board announced that it has extended its deadline to submit appeals from the decisions of Property Assessment Review Panels from April 30, 2020 to June 1, 2020.
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance
On April 16, 2020, the federal government also unveiled the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program to deliver rent support to businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. Please see Clark Wilson’s article to learn more.
Please contact any of the Commercial Real Estate lawyers of Clark Wilson LLP for further information.