With many British Columbia residents facing difficult times, the time is right to see if you qualify for the province’s property tax deferment program.
Property tax bills will be coming out in May, and while many people put aside money each month — either via their mortgage payments or a savings account — to pay their bill, many others are faced with coming up with the full amount when property taxes are due on July 2. However, the property tax deferment program is available to B.C. homeowners who are 55 years or older, to a surviving spouse of any age, or to eligible persons with disabilities. Deferment is also available for homeowners who are a parent, stepparent, or financially supporting a dependent child.
Property tax deferment is a provincial low-interest loan program that helps qualified homeowners pay their annual property taxes on their principal residence. Taxes can be deferred for any year the homeowner lives in the home and continues to qualify for the program. Eligible homeowners are then able to pay their property taxes at a later date.
There are two options: the Regular Program, and the Families with Children Program.
When you defer your annual property taxes, the province charges interest on your tax deferment loan. The current loan rate is 1.95 per cent for the Regular Program and 3.95 per cent for the Families with Children Program. The deferred taxes are paid to local governments by the province, which recoups the money when the house is sold or transferred.
In order to qualify, your property tax account must be up to date. The program is only applicable to residential class 1 properties; it is not available for secondary residences such as a cottage, summer home, or rental property.
It can take some time to process tax deferral applications, so those interested in taking advantage of the program in 2020 are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. If your application is submitted before the property tax due date but is approved after the due date, you won’t be charged a late payment penalty. However, if it is found that you aren’t eligible for deferment and it’s past the property tax due date, your property tax office may charge you a late payment penalty on the unpaid taxes.