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tax assess appeal

The Resort Municipality of Whistler’s appeal of the tax classification of four condo-hotels has been referred to the B.C. Assessment Appeal Board. The RMOW launched an appeal of the classification of the Cascade Lodge, Timberline, Alpenglow and the Marriott Residence Inn in January this year. The four condo-hotels all recently restructured the way their units are managed so that they no longer are assessed by the B.C. Assessment Authority as Class 6 commercial but as Class 1 residential. The change in the classification of those four properties represents a $450,000 shortfall in tax revenue for the municipality this year. Although these are not the only condo-hotel properties in Whistler that have had their tax classification downgraded from commercial to residential, they were the only ones re-classified for the 2000 Assessment Roll. The Assessment Authority itself has also launched a third party appeal of the Tantalus Lodge’s Class 1 residential assessment. Under current legislation, if more than 85 per cent of the units in a building are in the same rental pool and controlled by one property management company, the entire property is assessed commercial. But, if there are two or more property managers each controlling less than 85 per cent of the units in one building, the entire complex is classified residential. A commercial classification results in taxes approximately 2.5 times higher than if the same unit were classified as residential. The RMOW appeal went before the three-member Assessment Review Panel three weeks ago, where it was referred to the next level of review, the Assessment Appeal Board, which normally consists of members experienced in law or complex appraisal issues. Cases referred to the Assessment Appeal Board are generally the more complicated ones and normally involve assessments of significant value. The next step in the appeal process would be the Supreme Court, but only on matters of law.

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