VICTORIA – For the second consecutive year, the Province is waiving the income requirements normally required for existing B.C. farm operations when qualifying for farm classification.
“The pandemic has been very difficult for everyone, including the thousands of British Columbians who are involved in putting food on our tables,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. “Over the past year, the trend of buying B.C. food has grown instinctively in families and communities around our province. By maintaining this change for another year, we are letting B.C. farmers know that we have their back, so they can continue to focus on providing their amazing and delicious products we all enjoy.”
If the Province had not taken action with a regulatory amendment last year, more than 400 farm properties with a history of sub-threshold income and many developing farms would have been at risk of losing their farm class for 2021. By once again eliminating the income requirement as B.C. recovers from COVID-19, farmers will not have to worry about the possibility of losing their farm classification and having an increase in property taxes in 2022.
“We’re helping farmers maintain their farm status by waiving income requirements for a second straight year,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “Our government will continue to be responsive in our targeted COVID-19 supports for people and businesses, so we can build the foundation of a strong recovery.”
For the 2021 tax year, there are close to 19,000 farm properties in British Columbia. Each year, BC Assessment sends out self-reporting income questionnaires and conducts intermittent inspections to determine whether a property should maintain its farm status for the upcoming tax year.
To be classified as a farm in B.C., properties must meet certain criteria, including generating a minimum amount of gross income from a qualifying agriculture use based on the size of the parcel of land.