Angelo Khoshaba founded Cravings Restaurant 21 years ago, turning it from a small soup and sandwich shop into a mainstay of the Marpole community.
But as Vancouver’s housing market has continued to explode, the assessment value of Khoshaba’s property has gone up. And so has his tax bill.
“I paid $27,000 in property taxes this year. It’s taken out upfront whether I make a dollar or not,” he said. “People don’t realize businesses like mine pay many times more in property tax than they do.”
The complaint of high property taxes is a common refrain among small business owners in Vancouver, but when compared to their residential counterparts, the data bears it out.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses reported that Vancouver businesses pay 4.32 times more than residential properties of the same value.
“It is fundamentally an issue of fairness,” says CFIB Director Shachi Kurl, who eventually would like to see a gap of two to one. “Small businesses pay much more, but aren’t consuming at the same rate. They feel they’re paying more than their fair share, but they’re not getting their fair share.”
Businesses used to pay six times the rate of residents before a series of tax shifts were adopted by the city government between 2008 and 2011. Vision Vancouver councillor Raymond Louie says this “has addressed the issue.”