School Tax

School tax is one of the services you are charged for on your annual property tax notice.  The tax isn't based on if you or your family use the public or private school system. The education system benefits all B.C. residents including people without children in school. You pay school tax to share in the cost of providing education in B.C.

If your property is located within a municipality, you pay school tax to your municipal office. If your property is in a rural area, you pay school tax to the province’s Surveyor of Taxes.

School tax is charged on every property in B.C. unless the property qualifies for an exemption.

Tax Rates

Each year the province sets the residential school tax rate for each school district and is based equally on:

  1. The total number of residences in the district
  2. The total residential assessed value in the district

Generally, these rates decrease so that average provincial revenues per home only increase by B.C.'s CPI rate of inflation.

Each year the province sets the school tax rate for each non-residential property class. Generally, these rates decrease each year as average values within a property class rise faster than inflation.

Additional School Tax on High-Valued Properties

Starting in 2019, an additional school tax applies to most high-valued residential properties in the province, including:

  • Detached homes
  • Stratified condominium or townhouse units
  • Most vacant land

The additional school tax does not apply to non-stratified rental buildings with four or more housing units.

For mixed-use properties, only the residential portion of the property’s assessed value above $3 million will be taxable.

The additional tax rate is:

  • 0.2% on the residential portion assessed between $3 million and $4 million
  • 0.4% tax rate on the residential portion assessed over $4 million

School Tax Revenue

Revenue from school tax represented approximately 35% of the $5.498 billion spent by the Ministry of Education in 2015/16 (see public accounts, page 120).

The school tax revenue was $1.937 billion. School tax revenues from residential property represented about 14% and non-residential property represented about 21% of the education cost.

2015/16 Residential School Tax Revenue

Residential Properties in Municipalities and Rural Areas

Properties in Municipalities

$  687 million

Properties in Rural Areas

$    85 million

Total Residential

$  772 million

 

2015/16 Non-Residential School Tax Revenue

Non-Residential Properties in Municipalities and Rural Areas

Properties in Municipalities

$    977 million

Properties in Rural Areas

$    188 million

Total Non-Residential

$ 1.165 billion