Laying hens at an Abbotsford farm: large-scale production dominates agricultural products, while small farmers are restricted in what processing and sales they can do on site. (Abbotsford News)

COVID-19: Minimum income for farm tax status waived in B.C.

B.C. Liberals want to allow food sale from home kitchens

With B.C. farmers struggling to harvest and sell crops in the coronavirus pandemic, the B.C. government has suspended the regulation that requires a minimum income to qualify for farm property tax status in 2021.

Current regulations require the minimum gross farm income to be met every two years, with at least some income generated each year from a qualifying agriculture use based on the size of the farm. Tax status is determined by BC Assessment, which sends out self-reporting income questionnaires and then conducts intermittent inspections to determine if farms should retain their tax status for the upcoming year.

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said the one-year waiver of the rule is in response to a difficult year for smaller-scale farms, which depend on roadside stands, farm markets and public interaction for their revenue.

“Without this action, a number of properties would have been in jeopardy of losing farm status for the 2021 tax year, significantly increasing the property tax burden on those farmers and farm families,” the ministry said in a statement July 29.

The B.C. Liberal opposition has been calling on the Popham and the NDP government to give farmers more options. Delta South MLA Ian Paton, the agriculture critic, presented a private member’s bill last week that would permit farmers to sell products from their kitchens as well as raw produce.

RELATED: B.C. cuts fees, not red tape for farmland housing

RELATED: It’s still OK to gravel your road, B.C. farmers told

“There are people throughout the province who would love the opportunity to sell fresh baked goods, fruits and veggies, jams and jellies and so much more,” Paton said. “Right now, if someone cannot afford an industrial kitchen, they are incredibly limited in where they can sell their products.”

B.C. Liberal MLA John Rustad introduced another bill calling on the NDP government to repeal legislation that restricts secondary uses on farmland in areas, prevents farmers from applying directly to the Agricultural Land Commission for property exclusions, and restricting additional housing on farmland.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

20-storey hotel proposed for downtown Victoria

Wintergarden Hotel proposed for block of Blanshard Street between Fort and View streets

‘I’ve fallen through the cracks’: Victoria woman calls herself new face of homelessness

Tonya Alton has had to move almost ten times since a ‘wrongful eviction’ in March

View Royal teen inspired by pandemic creates thermal camera from scratch

14-year-old plans to make 10 touchless hand sanitizers for schools

Missing python found under vehicle in 1900-block of Richardson Street

The snake was located more than six kilometres from where it went missing

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Most Read