Letters to the Editor

Assessment Authority is claiming basements are finished

Editor: It appears that Langley Township has partnered up with the B.C. Assessment Authority.

At first I thought the provincial government may have initiated this.  I received my tax assessment and noticed that there was quite an increase, in fact it was up by $33,000.  I went online and noticed that they had me down for a finished basement. This does not show on your tax assessment.

The funny thing is, I do not have a finished basement, so I did my due diligence and delved into my neighbourhood assessments. What I found became interesting. They tarred everyone with the same brush — now everyone with a basement has it assessed as being finished.

I visited the Assessment Authority and showed them what I had come up with. They knew about the changes to the basement calculations and said that they would rectify that portion of mine immediately.  This reduced my house value by $17,000, which in turn should reduce my net payout on my taxes by approximately $100.

This reminded me of a lawsuit regarding negative option billing. So I went online (if you go to the Government of Canada’s website and enter into the justice laws website and click onto negative option billing regulations and go to section 8(1),notice of changes).

This is my version of what that section means.  An institution, such as the Township of Langley, that has or can make changes to the terms and conditions (changing any home with a basement whether it was finished or not, to a finished basement) should have disclosed this in writing to homeowners. This should have been required in the original assessment notification. By changing this, the assessed value could change from $10,000 to $30,000.  This in turn could increase taxes by $100 to $250.

The bottom line is this is an unfair tax grab. This is an artificially higher tax assessment.

Homeowners may think they have won the lottery when in fact, if they do try to sell, they really have not. This is not a fair way of doing business, in my opinion.

People wishing to appeal their assessments or question them have until this Friday, Jan. 31.

Dennis Townsend,

Langley

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