Every parcel of property in British Columbia is placed by BC Assessment into one property tax class. Residential properties are placed into Class 1; business properties are placed into Class 6. All Class 6 business properties, in electoral areas and municipalities, pay the property tax that is assigned to that class.
A key difference between the business property taxes in electoral areas and municipalities, however, concerns the tax rate. In electoral areas, business pay the Class 6 property tax rate that is identified by the regional district. In every regional district, the Class 6 rate must at a ratio of 2.45 to the Class 1 (residential) rate. Each regional district will determine, for each local service, the Class 1 rate to charge. The business rate is then set automatically using a multiplier of 2.45 on the Class 1 rate. This multiplier, along with multipliers for other classes of non-residential property, is mandated by the province under the Regional District Tax Regulation.
Municipalities have the authority to set not only their own Class 1 (residential) rate, but also all other rates for other classes of property, including Class 6 (business).This authority allows municipal councils to use property taxes as policy tools to pursue different goals. Within the CSRD, different municipalities use different Class 6 multipliers. Sicamous, for example, uses a multiplier of 2.15, whereas Salmon Arm uses a multiplier of 2.82. Revelstoke applies a Class 6 multiplier of 4.93, whereas Golden uses 2.16. A new municipal council for Sorrento-Blind Bay would have the authority to set its own Class 6 property tax rate.
In most municipalities, businesses are required to pay a business license fee in addition to their property tax. Fee levels typically vary based on type of business or other factors — a typical fee is around $100 per year. It has been assumed in the Sorrento-Blind Bay Incorporation Study that the new municipality would have a business license function. The CSRD does not have such a service for Electoral Area C.