Province proposes changes to farm assessments to ease burden on farmers

The tax exemption on farm outbuilding improvements – which does not include residences – will be increased to the greater of 87.5 per cent or $50,000 of assessed value. Currently, the exemption is a maximum of $50,000 of assessed value.

Also, farmer's dwelling and home site farm classification will be extended to retired

farmers in the Agricultural Land Reserve for farms that stay in production.

The two proposed legislative amendments come recommendations made by the Farm Assessment Review Panel (FARP), which was appointed by the government in February, 2008, to conduct a province-wide review of existing regulations and policies related to farm assessments. It was made up of representatives from local governments, the agricultural community, the BC Assessment Board and others. The FARP submitted its report and recommendations to government on July 31, 2009.

The government will also implement two other FARP recommendations through regulatory amendments and policy changes. The government will seek to reduce administrative paperwork for farmers by changing the farm income reporting period to be consistent with the Canada Revenue Agency's income tax reporting period. Also, more flexibility will be provided in meeting the requirements to maintain farm status by expanding the list of Primary Agricultural Production (PAP).

The changes mentioned above are expected to take effect in time for the 2013 Assessment Roll, and further details will be announced once the amendments come into force.

"Nine out of every ten farms in this province are family owned and operated. These measures will provide additional support for hard-working farmers, while also helping to ensure a healthy and sustainable agriculture industry," said Don McRae, Minister of Agriculture, in a statement.

His government implemented two FARP recommendations for the 2010 assessment year meant to clarify the rules around split-classification of properties in the Agriculture Land Reserve (ALR) and non-ALR farm properties.


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