Property Taxes

TAXES AND HOME OWNER GRANTS DUE BEFORE
4:00 pm on THURSDAY, JULY 2, 2015
  • Property tax notices are mailed at the end of May. 
  • Taxes are always due on the next business day following July 1 Canada Day.
  • After July 2, any outstanding current (2015) property tax amount is subject to a 5% penalty including unclaimed Home Owner Grants (HOG).
  • An additional 5% penalty will be applied after September 1.
  • Outstanding arrears (2014) and delinquent (2013) taxes accrue daily interest at a percent (%) set by the province.
  • TAX SALE (see below for further detail on tax sale) any property with outstanding delinquent (2013) taxes will be offered to the public at a tax sale set annually on the last Monday in September (September 28, 2015).
UPDATE YOUR MAILING ADDRESS
If you have moved or bought your property this year, please give the District Office a quick call at 250-474-1773 before mid-May to ensure that the District has your current mailing address. The District Office hours are 8:30 am to 4:00 pm Monday to Friday.

NEW THIS YEAR ONLINE PROPERTY TAX SERVICES
The Financial Institutions will no longer accept Home Owner Grant claims, therefore, the District of Highlands now brings you the convenience of:

  • Claiming your Home Owner Grant (HOG) electronically (see the eHOG section below). 
  • Viewing your tax account through a portal located by choosing the ONLINE SERVICES button on our website’s www.highlands.ca HOME PAGE. NOTE this is a secure site. We are dedicated to protecting your privacy and safeguarding your personal financial information (see VIEWING YOUR TAX ACCOUNT ONLINE).
  • Paying your taxes online through your home computer, mobile device or by telephone. The District of Highlands has setup most Financial Institutions and Credit Unions to recognize the District of Highlands as a payee (see PAYMENT OPTIONS section below).
eHOG

Claim the grant electronically through our website at www.highlands.ca and choose the ONLINE SERVICES button. To do so, you will require the 4-digit ACCESS Code/PIN and 8-digit Roll Number located on the upper right corner of your property tax notice. If you claim electronically, please keep your paper application form along with a printout of your confirmation for 7 years. Grant applications are audited by the Home Owner Grant Branch to determine if taxpayers were eligible for the grants they received and you could be called upon to prove the eligibility.

REQUESTING YOUR ACCESS CODE
Access codes are associated with the owner of the property, not to the property itself. Access codes change automatically when there is a change of ownership. This change can be due to a sale, an addition or name change of an owner, addressing and for other administrative reasons.
When a change of ownership occurs, the owner is assigned a new access code.
Access codes are confidential and to maintain their confidentiality we are required by law to only give them to the registered owner of a property, which we cannot confirm by phone.
The District can only provide access codes to the registered owner of a property in two ways:

1. By mail to the mailing address we have on file for the property, or
2. In person at the District Office (you will need to provide picture identification)

A registered owner’s previous tax bills will also show the access code

HOME OWNER GRANTS INFORMATION

The Home Owner Grant is a provincial program that helps reduce the amount of residential property tax you pay. For further detailed information on the Provincial Home Owner Grant (HOG), please go to: http://www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/documents_library/bulletins/hog_001.pdf

Be sure to apply each year

If you are eligible for the grant, the Province of BC reduces your taxes by the amount of the grant.

You must apply for your Home Owner Grant each year by the July due date listed on your property tax notice in order to avoid penalties.

You still need to claim your grant if you are paying your taxes through your mortgage, the Pre Authorized Payment Plan (PAPP) or through the tax Deferment Program. Even if you cannot pay the balance of your taxes, you may still submit a grant claim to our District Office in order to receive its benefit.

Are you eligible for the grant?

If you own the property and it is your principal residence, you may qualify for the Home Owner Grant (HOG). Please see the link below on the HOG Branch Website to learn more about eligibility, Read the explanatory notes on the Home Owner Grant and eligibility

Apply for the grant correctly to avoid unnecessary penalties

If you qualify for the grant, but do not complete the application correctly/completely, your grant cannot be processed, therefore….

a) The District will not receive the grant money from the provincial government, and
b) Your property tax account will show an unpaid amount.

You will be charged a 5% penalty on the outstanding property tax balance after 4:00 pm on July 2 and another 5% after 4:00 pm on September 1. In addition, if there is still a balance owing on 1 January of the following year, daily interest will be charged to your tax account at a % rate set by the Province.

The applicable grant amount has already been applied to your tax notice. Columns B and C on the tax notice reflect the two (2) possible grant categories.

How to claim your home owner grant

To claim your home owner grant, you can:

  • Claim your grant online through ONLINE SERVICES.
  • Mail your claim to the District of Highlands, 1980 Millstream Road, Victoria, BC, V9B 6H1
  • Bring your claim in person to the front counter of the District Office - 
    Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:00pm 
  • Drop off the paper claim in the secure mail box in the front door of the District Office after hours
The paper claim of the grant is found on the reverse side of the property tax notice.

Sending your grant by the due date is not enough - the District Office must receive your grant by the due date.

Forgot to claim last year’s Home Owner Grant

Unclaimed Home Owner Grants (HOGs) can only be claimed for one (1) previous year. Retroactive HOGs must be applied for using the RETROACTIVE HOG FORM and MUST be received at the District Office prior to December 31 of the current year. Any Retroactive HOG application received after December 31 of the current year will not be accepted.

New owners

If you are a new owner looking to claim a Home Owner Grant and you have not claimed a HOG elsewhere for that year, you will need to do two (2) things:

1. Make sure that there is still some amount of the taxes still owing, since you cannot claim a grant if the vendor paid the taxes in full.
2. Visit the District Office in person with your Form A - Freehold Transfer Form, since your name may not yet be in our system. This is a form that you would have received from your lawyer or notary when you purchased the property.

Home Owner Grant Threshold

Did you know the Province adjusts the Home Owner Grant threshold most years?

The 2015 Home Owner Grant threshold of assessed value remains the same as 2014 at $1,100,000. The grant is reduced by $5.00 for each $1,000 above an assessment of $1.1M.

Also:
  • The basic grant is eliminated when the assessed value reaches $1,214,000
  • The additional grant is eliminated when the assessed value reaches $1,269,000
If you have concerns about the threshold change, please contact the Province's Home Owner Grant Administration Branch:

• Email: hogadmin@gov.bc.ca
• Call: 1-888-355-2700
• Website: www.gov.bc.ca/propertytaxes

VIEWING YOUR TAX ACCOUNT ONLINE

A property owner must register through our website in order to access personal property tax information such as billing and payment history or Home Owner Grants claimed. To REGISTER, you will need the Jurisdiction-Roll/Folio number (8-digits) and ACCESS code/PIN (4-digits) from your property tax notice mailed out at the end of May. You can also obtain instructions on receiving your ACCESS code/PIN by calling the District Office at (250) 474-1773 between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:00 pm Monday to Friday.

  • To REGISTER, go to our website and choose ONLINE SERVICES, choose the REGISTER box in the upper right corner of the home page. The system will then ask you to create a User Name and Password (7 characters). The user will also be prompted to fill in a 'Simple Name", which will be displayed on the virtual account and an email address. Once registered, a confirmation email will be sent. Users can un-register anytime through the Account Profile. 
  • The user must then LOGIN by choosing the login box in the upper right corner and selecting your 'Simple Name' & NEW account. Select account type PT-Property Taxes and enter the Jur-Roll/Folio Number as the account group. 
  • The user will need the Roll Number (plus the decimal) and ACCESS code/PIN from your property tax notice for the roll and access code fields. Click SAVE account. (You may add more than one property tax account by choosing SAVE and ADD another account).
  • To view your property tax account, place your curser over the ONLINE SERVICES tab above the District's logo and click on property taxes.
PAYMENT OPTIONS

Internet and Telephone Banking

YOU CANNOT PAY YOUR TAXES THROUGH THIS PORTAL
. The District of Highlands is now set up with most Financial Institutions and Credit Unions to recognize the District of Highlands as a payee so that you may pay your taxes through internet banking or via telephone. Once you are logged into your bank's website, you will need to add Highlands as a Payee. Please make sure to choose the payee carefully as there can several choices. Yours will most likely look like HIGHLANDS, DIST - TAXES (no East or Grey in the name). You will then be asked for an Account Number.

This will be an 11-digit number which will consist of the 3-digit school district plus your 8-digit roll number (ie. 36215999000) from your Tax Notice. DO NOT include dashes or decimal.

Financial Institution

In order to process your payment, your bank or credit union will require the remittance slip from your original tax notice which contains an encrypted CCIN # to ensure that the payment is delivered to the District’s bank. Please note that the District is not responsible for errors made by Financial Institution and that the banks no longer will accept Home Owner Grants. It is your responsibility to ensure that the grant is claimed. You may do this either through our website (see eHOG section above) or by submitting the paper grant (located on the back of the remittance slip on the tax notice) in person at the District Office. Should you require a reprint of your property tax notice in order to fill out the HOG, we will be happy to print one out for you. Please bring picture ID to obtain your ACCESS Code/PIN.

In Person

We do not accept payment by credit card. However, the District Office does accept debit card payments. Be aware of what your transaction limit is as your transaction may be denied by your bank if you have not prearranged for a significant amount to be debited from your account.

We also accept payment by cash, cheque, or postdated-cheque (include Roll# for reference) payable to the District of Highlands.

Our District Office hours are 8:30am to 4:00pm Monday to Friday (closed holidays).

Drop Off After Hours

After hours, please drop off in secured mail box in the front door of the District Office. Please write your Roll # on your cheque to make sure the correct account is credited. No cash please.

By Mail

If mailing, address envelope to District of Highlands, 1980 Millstream Rd, Victoria, BC, V9B 6H1. Please make cheque payable to DISTRICT OF HIGHLANDS. In the event of postal disruption, please use alternate payment methods to ensure that payment is received by the due date.

Mortgage Company

If the District Office has been notified with your mortgage listing, then you will see a mortgage code in that field. If the Mortgage Code is blank, no listing has been sent to your mortgage company and you are responsible to pay your taxes. Many property owners will have their property taxes included in their mortgage payments. A portion of the mortgage payment is allocated for property taxes and is forwarded to the District of Highlands once they have received a listing from us. The District of Highlands is not responsible for errors made by the mortgage provider.

Monthly Pre-Authorized Payment Plan (PAPP)

Property Owners may wish to enroll in the Pre-Authorized Payment Plan (PAPP) for pre-payment of their property taxes. Automatic withdrawals occur on the 10th of each month, running for 10 months of the year between August to May. Once we have received your enrollment form and a void cheque, a fixed amount will automatically be debited from your bank account. This program allows the tax payer the convenience of paying their taxes on a monthly basis rather than one lump sum, therefore, making budgeting easier and avoiding the risk of penalties

No payments will be withdrawn for June and July. The annual tax notices are mailed out the last week of May and will show that year's tax levy less the total pre-payments. The home owner is responsible for claiming their Home Owner Grant (HOG) and making the final payment to your tax account.

CLICK HERE FOR THE PAPP AGREEMENT ENROLLMENT FORM

Property Tax Deferment Programs

There are several Tax Deferment Programs. The most common is for property tax residents who are 55 and older. The Families with Children Property Tax Deferment Program is another option available to assist families supporting dependent children under the age of 18 during those years when household costs can be the highest.

Deferment is a loan program that allows you to defer all, or part of, your current annual property taxes on your principal residence. Principal residence is your home where you live and conduct your daily activities. For more info on these programs including application forms, please go to:

http://www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/individuals/Property_Taxes/Property_Tax_Deferment/ptd.htm

TAX SALE INFORMATION

Tax Sale Process

The following information is intended to provide a general overview of the Tax Sale process. For legislation regarding the Annual Municipal Tax Sale refer to the [Local Government Act] in particular, but not limited to, Part 11 Sections 403 to 428.

The District of Highlands is required by the Local Government Act to sell at Tax Sale all properties whose taxes have not been paid in 3 years and are therefore in a delinquent status.
The Local Government Act gives the Collector authority to sell a property for the Upset Price which is the sum of all outstanding taxes (including delinquent, arrears & current) + penalties + interest + 5% tax sale costs + Land Title Office fees.

The District makes no representation express or implied as to the condition or quality of the property being offered for sale.

Prospective bidders are urged to inspect the property and to search the title of the property in advance to determine if there are any charges registered against the property or other conditions which may affect the value or suitability of the property.

Once the property has been sold at a Tax Sale, the Registered (Original) Owner has up to one year to redeem the property (read the Redemption section below). This is referred to as the ‘Redemption Period’.

If the property is not redeemed after the one year period, the Purchaser will be deemed the (New) Registered Owner. An application will be made to register the property in the new owner’s name with the Land Title Office. NOTE the new Registered Owner is then required to pay Property Transfer Tax. Read the attached link for more info [Property Transfer Tax 001].

Advertising

The Local Government Act requires the municipalities to publish a Tax Sale Ad in at least 2 issues of a newspaper. The District of Highlands advertises the Tax Sale Ad in the local Goldstream Gazette.

The last publication must be at least 3 days and not more than 10 days before the date of the Tax Sale.

The legal description, street/civic address and Upset Price must be published.

To avoid your property being listed in these Tax Sale Ads, the delinquent taxes plus related interest must be paid approximately 2 weeks prior to the Tax Sale date.

Tax Sale

At 10:00 am on the last Monday in September, at the District Office located at 1980 Millstream Road, Victoria, BC, the Collector (who may act as auctioneer) must conduct the Tax Sale by offering for sale by public auction each parcel of real property for which taxes are in a delinquent status.

Should the Tax Sale process not be completed by the District Office’s end of business day 4:00pm, the Collector may adjourn the Tax Sale to 10:00 am on the following day and from day to day until each parcel is disposed of.

The Collector may also offer for sale the other improvements on the real property that are taxable under this Act and on which taxes are delinquent.
Bidding is accepted on all properties.

The minimum bid is the amount of the Upset Price therefore all bidding will begin with the Upset Price amount explained earlier in this document.

If no bidding takes place within 3 calls by the Collector, the District is declared the Purchaser for the Upset Price.

Purchasing Property

The successful bidder is required to have their Social Insurance Number (SIN) or Business Number (BN) and/or corporate seal.

Payment is to be in the form of cash, certified cheque or money order for at least the Upset Price at the close of the Tax Sale.

The remainder of the successful bid over the Upset Price must be received by 3:00 pm on the day of the Tax Sale.

If full payment is not received by 3:00 pm on the day of the Tax Sale, the Collector will offer the property for sale again the following day at 10:00 am.

Redeeming Your Property

The Original Owner has one year after the property is sold at Tax Sale to redeem or buy back their property. The redemption is done by paying or tendering to the Collector the following amounts:
• the Upset Price of the parcel at the time of the Tax Sale;
interest on the Purchase Price at a rate set by the Province
all costs, which the Collector has received notice of, incurred by the Purchaser in maintenance of the real property and in prevention of waste;
all property taxes advanced or paid by the Purchaser for the year in which property is within the one year redemption period.

Upon redemption of a parcel, the Purchaser is entitled to receive from the District ALL amounts paid by the Purchaser, together with interest at the rate set by the Province up to the date of the redemption.

Redemption Period

Part 11 Section 421 of the Local Government Act provides that when real property is sold at Tax Sale, all rights held by the ‘Registered’ Owner who owned the parcel at the time of the Tax Sale, immediately cease to exist, except for the right of redemption, the right to bring an action to set aside the Tax Sale, and the right of possession.

The Registered Owner’s right of possession is subject to the Purchaser’s right to bring action against the Registered Owner for waste (ie. damage or destruction to the parcel) and the right of the Purchase to enter onto the property to maintain it in the proper condition and to prevent waste.

Damage, destruction or loss of property during the redemption period is at the risk of the Purchase. The Purchaser is advised to insure his interest in the property.

Notifying Registered Owners

The Collector is required by law within 90 days after the Tax Sale to give written notice of the Tax Sale and of the date the redemption period ends either by serving the notice or by sending it by registered mail to all Registered Owners shown on the Title of the property sold.

Assessment and Taxes During the Redemption Period

The property which has been sold at Tax Sale and is still within the one year redemption period must continue to be assessed and taxed in the name of the original Registered Owner, however, the Purchaser has the option of paying that year’s taxes to avoid any additional penalties for late payment. This amount must be added to the amount required to redeem.

Properties Not Redeemed

If the property is not redeemed within the redemption period of one year by the Registered Owner, the Collector registers the Purchaser as the New Owner at the Land Titles Office in Victoria, thus cancelling all previous registered charges, except for those matters set out in Section 276 of the Land Title Act and any lien of the Crown, improvement district or local district.

After the registering application is complete, the new Registered Owner is required to pay the [Property Transfer Tax 001].