Deferring Your Property Taxes – What you need to know
Tax deferment is a low interest loan program that helps qualified B.C. homeowners pay their annual property taxes on their principal residence.
Here’s how it works:
- Receive your annual property tax notice
- Confirm you qualify for one of the tax deferment programs
- Make sure your property tax account is up to date
- Submit your application to the correct office
- Know what to expect if your application is approved
- Renew your tax deferment loan agreement each year
There are certain situations where property taxes can’t be deferred. Find out when you can’t defer your property taxes.
Property Tax Deferment Process
1. Receive your annual property tax notice
Annual property tax notices are sent out every May. You will need to know the amount of your current year taxes before you apply.
City of Vancouver residents have to wait until their main tax notice billing period before they can apply. Find out more.
2. Confirm you are qualified
There are two tax deferment programs you may qualify for:
You may qualify for the Regular Program if you’re:
- 55 or older during the current year or
- a surviving spouse of any age or
- a person with disabilities
Families with Children Program
You may qualify for the Families with Children Program if you’re a parent, stepparent or financially supporting a child.
3. Pay outstanding property tax debts
Your property tax account must be up to date. This means you must pay any property taxes owing from previous years, penalties, interest or utility charges before you apply to defer your taxes. The only amount left outstanding on your property tax account should be the current year’s taxes (class 1 or class 1 and 9) minus your home owner grant (if eligible).
4. Apply to the correct office
Send your application to the address shown on your property tax notice. Do NOT send your application directly to the property tax office or it will be returned to you.
Once the property tax office has done their initial review to confirm you have applied for your home owner grant (if eligible) and paid any outstanding penalty, interest or utility charges, they send your application to the Tax Deferment office for processing.
When the property tax office processes your application, they will confirm your eligibility and may contact you if they need more information.
Possible processing delays
It can take the property tax office several months to process applications so you may not get a response from them until after the property tax due date. If your application is received by your property tax office before the property tax due date but is approved after the due date, you won’t be charged a late payment penalty. However, if they find that you aren’t eligible for deferment and it’s past the property tax due date, your property tax office will charge you a late penalty.
The property tax office will notify you by mail when they have finished processing your deferment application.
5. Know what to expect if your application is approved
If your tax deferment application is approved, the property tax office will pay your property taxes on your behalf and place a restrictive lien on your property. This means you are limited to the types of changes you can make to your property’s title while you are in the tax deferment program.
If you applied for the Regular tax deferment program, a $60 fee will be added to your account if your application is approved. There are no fees for the Families with Children program.
Simple interest is charged on the deferred tax amount starting from the date your property taxes are due or the date you applied to defer, whichever is later. Find out how interest is applied to your tax deferment loan.
6. Renew your loan agreement each year
If you want to continue to defer your annual property taxes under this agreement, you will need to complete a renewal application.
Each May the property the tax office will send you a Statement of Account and a Renewal Application. Find out about annual statements and the renewal process.
When you can’t defer your property taxes
You can’t defer your property taxes if:
- Your lender doesn’t allow you to apply for tax deferment (contact your lender to ensure your approval into the tax deferment program doesn’t cause you to default on your loan)
- Your current year property taxes have already been paid in full
- Your property isn’t classified as residential (class 1) or residential and farm (class 1 and class 9)
- You have a restrictive lien on title, such as a Certificate of Pending Litigation, Injunction, Caveat or Judgment
- The property is taxed by a First Nation
- The property shows you as a registered owner “in trust“, or as an executor/executrix of the will of a deceased owner, or an administrator of the estate of a deceased owner
- You don’t meet ALL program qualifications