A Guide To Your Property Taxes
Posted by Niels Madsen on
Even in these uncertain times there remains, as the famous aphorism goes, only two certainties; death and taxes. Today, thankfully, we’re going to be looking at the latter!
Now that the dust has settled on your 2020 taxes, it’s somehow already time to start looking to 2021. We couldn’t possibly cover everything you need to know about taxes in one blog, but we are going to cover some of the things that can help make paying your taxes easier, as well as the various tax relief programs you could be eligible for.
Know Your Dates
This can’t be stressed enough: tax deadlines can’t be missed. Let me repeat that — Tax Deadlines Can’t Be Missed. The property tax deadline can be found on your tax notice — and we advise doing things as far in advance as possible.
If you’re daunted by the idea of paying it all in one go, you can opt to take advantage of the pre-authorized payment program.
This program enables you to pay a portion of your taxes on a monthly basis — avoiding the risk of penalties, and making it easier to manage your budgets.
With this program, a fixed amount will be debited from your bank account on the first of each month.
Before we take a look at the rules and regulations surrounding property tax deferrals, it’s important to remember this is considered a separate matter to any homeowner grants you may be eligible for, which we’ll be taking a look at later on in this post.
There are two tax deferment programs an individual may be eligible for: the regular program and the families with children program. Both programs have the following qualifying criteria :
Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada
Be the registered owner of the property
Have lived in BC for at least one year prior to your application
Have paid all the previous year’s property taxes, user fees, penalties, and interest
For both deferral programs, applications must be submitted online, and before you start you will need your roll or account/folio number (this can be found on your property tax assessment and on your BC Assessment notice).
If there is more than one registered owner for your property, only one of you needs to complete the application — but all the registered owners will need to provide authorization. This will be done through a confirmation number that will be given after the application has been submitted. You will have 30 days from the date of the submission to provide this authorization.
Once you’ve applied you will be able to check your application status online through eTaxBC.
If your application is then approved, any property taxes will be paid on your behalf, and a restrictive lien will be placed on your property. This lien means that you will be limited when it comes to changes you can make to a property’s title for the duration you’re in the tax deferment program.
This duration can extend across multiple years, either by resubmitting your application each year or by signing up for the automatic renewal.
There are also a number of exclusionary criteria, meaning your property won’t qualify for deferment if:
It is a second residence
The property is taxed by a First Nation
The property title is entirely in the name of the executor or an administrator of the deceased owner's estate
The property title is entirely in trust
The property is leased from the Crown or Municipality
The Property is a float home or a home on stilts that doesn't have a property title registered with the Land Title Office
There is a Caveat other than Public Guardian and Trustee on the property
The property is the subject of Certificate of Pending Litigation or an Injunction
There is a judgment registered on title
Regular Tax Deferment Program
In order to be eligible for the regular tax deferment you must be either:
Aged 55 or older during the current tax year
A surviving spouse of any age who isn’t currently the spouse of another individual
An individual who is defined as having disabilities under the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act or in the opinion of a registered physician
You should also always check with your lender prior to applying, in order to ensure that the program will not conflict with the terms of your loan.
Families with Children
In order to be eligible for the Families With Children program you must be financially supporting at least one of the following:
A child under the age of 18 who is living with you either full or part time
A child under the age of 18 for whom you are paying support
Your own child or stepchild of any age who is attending an educational institution
Your own child or stepchild of any age who is designated as a person with disabilities under the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act who, in the opinion of a physician, has a severe mental or physical impairment
Home Owner Grants
For those living in rural areas, the Home Owner Grant is intended to provide relief in the form of a reduction in the amount of property tax they are required to pay.
A rural area is one where the property is not located in a city, town, district, or village — a good indicator if you’re unsure is if you receive your property tax notices from the province’s surveyor of taxes office.
Keeping on top of everything real estate is easier when you consult the experts — here at Madsen Langlois we have a wealth of experience and knowledge when it comes to all things real estate. To find out more get in touch with us today.