Property Tax Deferment Program British Columbia

deferring your property taxes in british columbia

Many BC homeowners have questions about how and when you can defer your property taxes If you are a home owner in British Columbia your property tax notice provides information including how much your property taxes are, when they are due, and how you can claim a home owner grant.

In 2017, the due date for property taxes is July 4. If you fail to pay your taxes by that date, a 5.0% minimum penalty is levied on any amount outstanding.  It should also be noted that some municipalities have increased the penalty. For example, the penalty is 10% in the City of Victoria.

If you qualify and your property meets certain eligibility requirements, you may be able to defer your property taxes. If you choose to defer the taxes, a lien is registered against the title to your property which will remain on title until the amount owing is paid in full. A $60 fee is also charged for the deferral and interest will be charged on the deferred amount.  The interest rates are set every six months by the Minister of Finance.

There are two deferral programs: (1) the regular program and (2) the program for families with children.

THE REGULAR PROGRAM

You may qualify for the regular program if you are:

  • 55 years of age or older (only one spouse needs to qualify);
  • a surviving spouse, regardless of age (i.e. you have lost your spouse by death and are not the spouse of any other individual); or
  • a person with disabilities.

There are also several other requirements, including but not limited to the following: you must be a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident; you must be a registered owner of the property; you must have and maintain a minimum equity of 25% of the property’s assessed value; and you must have paid all previous year’s property taxes, utility user fees, penalties and interest, if any.

Your property may not qualify for the program in certain circumstances. For instance, your property doesn’t qualify for tax deferment if it’s a second residence such as a summer home or rental home or if you pay the property taxes for the residence to a First Nation.

THE FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN PROGRAM

For the families with children program, you may qualify if you are:

  • a parent;
  • a stepparent; or
  • financially supporting a child or stepchild.

There are also several other requirements, including but not limited to the following: you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident; you must be a registered owner of the property; you must have and maintain a minimum equity of 15% of the property’s assessed value; and you must have paid all previous years’ property taxes, utility user fees, penalties and interest.

The same qualifications for the property apply to this program as do for the regular program set out previously.

It can take up to several months for the tax deferment applications to be processed. You may not get a response until after the property tax due date. If the application is received before the property tax due date but is approved after the due date, you may not be charged a late payment penalty.

You may however be charged a late payment penalty if:

  • your application is made after the property tax due date;
  • your application isn’t approved and it is past the property tax due date;
  • you fail to provide the required information;
  • you sell your home before the taxes are paid on your behalf; or
  • if you cancel or withdraw your application for any reason at any time before the taxes are paid.

Always see a qualified lawyer or accountant when making decisions about deferring your property taxes. The professionals who are members of Business for Business Networks are part of a trusted community.

At Sitka Law Group, we each bring our unique experiences and understanding to your file. We combine our individual knowledge and experience to collectively serve you, our client, creating a team environment that works to achieve the best outcomes possible. While our lawyers do work collectively, you will always have a primary contact; a lawyer from our team who you can contact at your convenience should you have questions of any kind. Our goal is to create an environment that you feel comfortable and relaxed in, so that together we are better able to tackle the legal issues or requirements at hand.

Understanding Commercial Leases

Victoria commercial real estate

Considering a commercial lease to for your business?

Many business owners, landlords and even most residential Realtors are ill-informed about the various types of commercial leases.

The most common confusion in commercial leases surrounds the differences between a Net and Gross Lease.

For simplification, a Gross Lease includes everything in the monthly rent. Everything except the tenant’s utility costs (including hydro, gas, heat, water, cable or a combination of any of these) is included. Any applicable taxes are also an additional cost.

On the other hand a Net Lease, means the tenant pays a base rent for the rentable area plus a proportionate share of other costs.  These may include to property taxes, building insurance, maintenance, management, landscaping & parking lot maintenance and a host of other items.  The various clauses depend upon the type of property and its amenities. Net Leases are commonly referred to as triple net rents.  However triple means three and as you can see often the additional rent or operating costs or CAM (Common Area Maintenance) costs include more than 3 additional charges!

Finally, people are often confused about how the commercial lease is calculated on a monthly basis. It may be confusing, but it isn’t complicated once you see how it works. Simply multiply the rentable area by the stated rental rate per square foot and divide by (12) twelve. i.e. 1,000 square feet X $15.00 PSF (per square foot) divided by 12 = $1,250.00 month.

Commercial leases may be far more complicated than this explanation suggests. It is a good idea to consult a professional to help understand the many possible clauses contained in the document. A long-term commercial lease can contribute to the success, or if done wrong, the failure of a business. Don’t ever sign one without review by a professional who represents your interests.

Ed Williams is a Commercial Real Estate Agent with over 35 years experience in Leasing and Sales of Investment & Commercial properties on southern Vancouver Island including Land Assembly for Developers as well as National and International Retailers. I also am happy to provide consultative services to those considering selling, buying or leasing.
Webs: Pemberton Holmes Ltd.