BC farmers can maintain property tax status

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 4:02 PDT, Wed July 29, 2020

Last Updated: 11:23 PDT, Thu August 20, 2020

The provincial government is waiving minimum income requirements for existing BC farm operations, allowing them to maintain their current property tax farm status for 2021.

“Our government is committed to helping farmers farm, and we are working to create a strong and resilient food system,” said Agriculture Minister Lana Popham.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for some BC farm operations, including smaller-scale farms that depend on roadside stands, farm markets and public interaction for sales revenue. Without this action, a number of properties would have been in jeopardy of losing farm status for the 2021 tax year, significantly increasing the property tax burden on those farmers and farm families.

In order to be classified as a farm in British Columbia, properties must meet certain criteria, including generating a minimum amount of gross income from a qualifying agriculture use based on the size of the parcel of land. This minimum income requirement must be met every two years and there must be some income generated every year. BC Assessment sends out self-reporting income questionnaires and conducts intermittent inspections to determine whether a property should maintain its farm status for the upcoming tax year.

New applications for farm class and retired farmer designations will be processed as usual by BC Assessment. For more information on farm class assessment, click here.

The Ministry of Agriculture has additional COVID-19 response and restart information for the BC agriculture and seafood sector available here.

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