Property taxes are always a hot topic at this time of year with most local jurisdictions having due dates in July. In British Columbia, the Province provides a reduction of property taxes in specific situations for a person’s principal residence.
There are a number of rules and requirements surrounding this reduction and we often get questions on the program. Some key items to be aware of are:
- The amount of the grant available varies depending on several factors including the location of the property as well as whether the basic or enhanced grant can be claimed. The lowest grant amount is $570 for a basic grant in the Capital Region District, Greater Vancouver Regional District and the Fraser Valley Regional District (elsewhere in British Columbia, the basic grant is $770). On the other end of the scale, the highest grant is for the those eligible for the enhanced grant with an available deduction up to $1,045 outside of the listed areas.
- The increased grants are available to seniors, veterans and persons with disabilities provided the specific eligibility requirements are met: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/property-taxes/annual-property-tax/reduce/home-owner-grant
- There is a minimum tax payable which is $350 per year (for the basic applicants) and $100 a year for seniors. In those cases, even if the grant would reduce the taxes payable below that amount, the minimum amount will still be due.
- No grant is available for properties assessed over $1,769,000 (and $1,809,000 in northern/rural British Columbia). There is also a prorated grant for properties between $1,600,000 and the upper limit (with some exceptions).
- To be eligible for the grant, in most cases, you must be occupying the property as your principal residence at the time the grant is applied for. There are some specific circumstances where this is not the case such as working out of province or where the owner could not occupy the home due to damage.
- You can only apply for a home owner grant on one property per year and the grant must be claimed each year. The property you claim the grant on must be your principal residence which is the usual place that would be considered your home (using a variety of factors). In addition, only one grant can be claimed each year by yourself and a spouse.
- Eligibility for the home owner grant is contingent on the owner being a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident.
There are many unique situations where a grant may still be available to someone who does not meet the basic requirements. It is important to ensure the grant is claimed each year before or concurrently with payment of the property taxes and to ensure the appropriate grant is claimed.
Please note that if your lender is attending to the payment of your property taxes on your behalf, you will want to ensure you have claimed the home owner grant, if eligible, before the bank remits payment.
If you have any questions with respect to the above, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our lawyers practicing in the area of real estate law or contact your taxation authority (City, District, Municipality, etc.) directly.
Author: Una Gabie
This information is general in nature only. You should consult a lawyer before acting on any of this information. This information should not be considered as legal advice. To learn more about your legal needs, please contact our office at (250)448-2637 or any of our lawyers practicing in the area of real estate law at the following:Una Gabie: firstname.lastname@example.org Jennette Vopicka: email@example.com Danielle (Dani) Brito: firstname.lastname@example.org Jane Otterstrom: email@example.com