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District of Highlands News

Posted on: February 5, 2020

Property Tax Deferment Applications and Renewals - New Process for 2020 - April Update

NEW PROCESS 2020: PROPERTY TAX DEFERMENT APPLICATIONS AND RENEWALS 

Key messages:
•    Starting May 1, 2020, residential property owners can apply for property tax deferment on their principal residence online, quickly and easily.
•    And for the first time, owners will be able to auto renew their application.
•    This means that eligible British Columbians can receive the benefits of this program, sooner.
•    The online application is part of the B.C. government’s work to improve the services that British Columbians rely on.
•    People can learn more about online applications at: gov.bc.ca/propertytaxdeferment

Question and Answer

1.    Why is the B.C. government changing the application process?
•    Currently, it takes up to five months for applications to the property tax deferment program to be reviewed due to the high volume of applications. As well, eligible owners must complete a renewal application each year.
•    Ineligible property owners were subjected to penalties and interest for not paying their taxes on time as a result of not meeting requirements or as a result of delays in the review of their applications.
•    The new online application process will allow for quicker application review, which means that British Columbians can receive the benefits of this program sooner.
•    Eligible property owners will be able to auto renew their application in subsequent years.

2.    Are there any changes to the program itself, or is only the application process changing?
•    The program and eligibility requirements are not changing.
•    The B.C. government is always looking to how it can improve the delivery of the programs and services British Columbians.
•    The paper-based system lead to process delays and resulted in some British Columbians facing fees and penalties.
•    That is why the program application process is being moved online – approvals will happen more quickly which means British Columbians can receive the benefit sooner.

3.    Will property owners be able to make a paper application?
•    Property owners who still wish to apply or renew via a paper application can request forms by calling 1 888 355 2700 (within Canada) or 250 387 0555 (outside of Canada).
•    Municipalities will not accept paper-based applications or renewals, and they will now be submitted to the B.C. government.
•    Paper-based applications and renewals may still be subject to delays experienced in the past.

4.    Where can property owners with accessibility challenges get help with their application?
•    Property owners needing help to understand the requirements and eligibility of the program can contact government agents by phoning 1 888 355 2700 (within Canada) or 250 387 0555 (outside of Canada).
•    There are over 60 Service BC Centres throughout the province and property owners can visit the centre if they need assistance understanding the requirements and eligibility.
•    People can learn more about online applications at: gov.bc.ca/propertytaxdeferment

5.    Is there a cost to applicants for using the online application?
•    Yes. As is currently the case, there is a $60 application fee for the regular program and there will be a $10 fee for auto renewals.
•    This fee is not required to be paid at the time of application but instead is added to the amount of the loan when the application is approved.
•    The families with children program does not have any fees.
•    People can learn more about online applications at: gov.bc.ca/propertytaxdeferment

6.    Who is eligible for the program?
•    To qualify for the regular program, you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who has lived in British Columbia for at least one year immediately prior to applying for tax deferment benefits and be:
- 55 years or older during the current taxation year (only one owner must be 55 or older),
- a surviving spouse of any age who isn’t currently the spouse of another person, or
- a person with a disability (as defined by regulation)
- You must also have a minimum equity of 25% of the current assessed value determined by BC Assessment (other appraised values are not accepted), after deducting the upper limit of all outstanding mortgages, lines of credit, your property tax amount and other charges on your home.
•    The interest rate under the regular program is currently 1.95% The rate is set equal to prime lending rate minus 2%.
•    The regular program has a one-time administration fee of $60.00 on all approved applications. Each subsequent year, a $10.00 renewal fee will be applied on all approved renewals.
•    To qualify for the families with children program, you must have a minimum equity of 15% of the current BC Assessment value (other appraised values are not accepted), after deducting the upper limit of all outstanding mortgages, lines of credit, your property tax amount and other charges on your home. You also must be supporting a child that is in a post-secondary education or trade school.
•    The interest rate under the families with children program is currently 3.95%. The rate is set equal to the prime lending rate.
•    The families with children program does not have any fees.

7.    Can eligible individuals apply now online?
•    Eligible British Columbians will be able to apply for the program online in May 2020.
•    The B.C. government is announcing this change now to allow property owners and its municipal partners to gather the information they need to support this new application.
•    Property owners can find out more at: gov.bc.c.a/propertytaxdeferment

8.    What information will people need to apply for the program?
•    The information that British Columbians will need to provide will mostly remain the same.
•    They will be required to provide information their identity such as name, date of birth and Social Insurance Number.

9.    Will every owner on title have to make a program application?
•    The eligible property owner will be required to submit a complete application.
•    All registered owners must consent. They will be required to log onto eTaxBC using the confirmation number provided by the applicant.
•    The eligible applicant with be notified if the other registered owners have not consented.
•    All registered owners will have 14 days to confirm their approval. If they do not, then the application will be cancelled; however, they can apply again.

10.    Do all homeowners have to meet the program criteria or just the owner making the application?
•    Only the owner submitting the application to the program must meet the eligibility criteria.
•    Any other registered owners only need to consent to enter into the agreement, but they do not need to meet any residency or principal residence criteria of property tax deferral program.

11.    Why must homeowners now provide their Social Insurance Number as part of their application?
•    As B.C. homeowners know – all loan application processes outside of government already require them to provide their SIN.
•    Please have inquiries related to collection of SIN directed to the Ministry of Finance, Property Tax Deferment program.

For inquiries or questions, please contact:

taxdeferment@gov.bc.ca
Tel: 1 888 355-2700 (toll free) or 250 387-0555 (office)

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