What are property taxes in BC?
Property taxes are taxes that homeowners pay each year that help to pay for various things, like:
- police and fire protection
- emergency rescue services
- road construction and maintenance
- garbage services
- recreation and community centres
What if I live in a rural area, not in a town?
Property taxes are payable whether you live in town or not. That’s because many of the services these taxes pay for will be provided to many rural areas, and also because we have, as a community, decided to support things like schools and hospitals, even if those items aren’t specifically in your exact neighbourhood.
How do I know if I have to pay property taxes in BC?
If you own land or a manufactured home in BC, you must pay property taxes.
Even properties on First Nations land have property taxes imposed by the nation governing that land.
How are the taxes calculated?
Taxes are calculated based on a few factors, including:
- where your property is located
- the size and relative value of your property
- the services supported by taxes in your area
When are the taxes due?
Property taxes are due in the summer, and the due date differs depending on where your property is located.
For example, rural property taxes and property taxes in many communities are generally due July 3rd of each year (or the first working day in July).
However, the property taxes for some communities (such as Penticton) are due towards the end of July each year.
It’s important to check the tax notice you have been given for the due date in your community.
Penalties are imposed on taxes which are not paid by the due date.
I’m buying a home – will the already taxes be paid for me?
It depends on what time of year you are buying your home. The basic rule of thumb is that whoever owns the property on the Adjustment Date (in your Contract of Purchase and Sale) is responsible for paying the property taxes, and the other party reimburses them for their share of the annual taxes.
For example, if you bought your property in March, you would be the owner of the property when the taxes come due, so you will pay the property taxes for the year. The person from whom you bought the property would give you a credit on your purchase for their share (approximately 2 months) of the property taxes.
If you bought the property in September, then the property taxes should have been paid for that year, and you will be reimbursing the seller for your share (September through December) of the property taxes for that year.
Do I always have to pay property taxes?
Yes, property taxes are always payable.
However, you can defer your property taxes, if you meet the criteria for doing so.
Defering property taxes doesn’t mean you are not paying them, though – it just means you are putting off paying them until you sell your property. You will pay interest on the deferred taxes until you pay them back out of the sales proceeds.
Are there any discounts?
Yes, there are several possible reductions for property taxes – called Home Owner Grants.
If you are eligible for a Home Owner Grant, but do not apply for it in time, you may lose that grant for that tax year. As well, if you expected to get a Home Owner Grant, and didn’t pay the full amount of the taxes because of that expectation, you might incur penalties on the unpaid tax amount.
It’s incredibly important to remember about your Home Owner Grant each year – it is your responsibility to apply for it, and penalties will apply if you do not apply for it on time.
These reductions are not automatic – you must meet the criteria for the Home Owner Grant, and you must apply for them each year.
How do I pay my property taxes?
You can pay your property taxes in several ways:
- at the office which sent you the tax notice
- by making regular payments to your local municipality
- by making regular payments to your mortgage lender (to be collected until the taxes are due, and your lender will pay the taxes from this amount collected each year)
Please note that if you pay your taxes regularly on an auto-debit system through your local municipality or to your mortgage lender, you still need to apply for the Home Owner Grant each year.
Tags: property taxes, real property