Its that time year again. Municipal property tax notices have been (or will shortly be) sent out by your local Okanagan taxation authority notifying the property owners that property taxes are due in 6 weeks and what exactly those taxes are. These notices are sent out to the property address registered on your land title. Please remember even if your address is incorrect on title and you do not receive your Property Tax Notice, you are still liable to pay your property taxes before the due date or you may face a penalty.
All of the Okanagan municipalities, or regional districts, have due dates for the 2018 taxes in the beginning of July. Please review your tax notice to see the deadline for paying your taxes.
We are often asked about how municipal property taxes are handled in the year that a property is sold and who is responsible for paying them.
On the appointed due date the total amount for 2018 is payable. As property taxes are based on a calendar year (January 1 – December 31) when we pay the taxes in July in full you are covering the taxes owing for the previous 6 months as well as the upcoming 6 months. Taxes MUST be paid before the deadline for payment in your area or penalties will be assessed (often in stages).
Property taxes are charged to the property (as opposed to the owner), therefore if there is a property tax bill which remains unpaid from a former owner, the current owner is liable to pay it.
In a year that a property is sold and bought, whoever the owner is on the date the taxes are due is the one that is responsible for paying the taxes (if not already paid). If the sale were to happen before July 1st and the buyer is therefore the owner on the day the taxes are due, the buyer will be obligated to pay the taxes in full. If the sale happens after July 1st and the seller therefore is the owner on the day the taxes are due, the seller is obligated to pay the taxes in full and seek a partial refund back from the buyer on the closing of the sale (this would be adjusted between the parties by the lawyers and notaries involved). For more information on how taxes are adjusted, see our blog “Adjusting for Property Taxes” at https://touchstonelawgroup.com/kelowna-lawyers/adjusting-property-taxes/.
When a property is conveyed, the buyer’s solicitor will calculate how many days of the tax year the seller should be responsible for property taxes (January 1 to the adjustment date or possession date), and the seller provides a credit to the buyer on closing for that amount. This means that on the day the taxes is due the buyer shall pay the full amount of the 2018 taxes knowing that the sellers have in essence provided the buyers their (being the sellers’) portion of the taxes.
Home Owners Grant
Many home owners are eligible for a home owner’s grant on their primary residence if they are a BC resident and they are the owner or occupant of an eligible residence and live in it as their principal residence at the time they submit the signed application form that is found on the bottom of the tax notice.
On freehold lands in the Okanagan, the basic grant available is $770 and the additional grant available is $1045.
On Westbank First Nations lands the basic grant available is $570 and the additional grant available is $870.
Author: Jennette Vopicka
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