Property Taxes, Assessments, and Grants

It’s property tax season – don’t forget that your Vancouver property taxes are due to be paid by FEBRUARY 02, 2017. In Vancouver, we pay our property taxes in two installments – once in February, and again in July. There’s been a lot of talk recently about increased assessments and the property tax grant threshold so I thought I would write a quick blog to break it down for you.

I’m going to focus on a few topics to hopefully provide some clarity to you on how property taxes are calculated in Vancouver, property assessments, payment options, and the grant that may or may not be available to you.

How are my property taxes calculated?

In Vancouver property taxes are calculated using the mill rate – follow this link for a detailed breakdown of the rates in Vancouver. Basically, the amount you pay is tied to the assessed value of your home. You pay a specific rate for every $1,000 in assessed value of your property.

How is the value of my property determined?

We’ve heard a lot of noise in the media recently about assessed property values that have risen drastically over the last year. Residential property values are reviewed and recalculated yearly by BC Assessment. Check out the video below to see how BC Assessment calculates the value of properties.

Much of the ongoing debate about this year’s assessment values has been around the timing of the assessments – properties are evaluated as of July 01 of the previous year. So, the assessments that were recently sent out to BC homeowners calculated the value of their property as of July 01, 2016. There have been a few significant developments in the BC real estate market since July 01, which is why many people feel their properties are over-valued. The developments include the introduction of the 15% foreign buyers tax, strengthened mortgage lending rules, and a slow down in property sales volume. These developments have lead to a reduction in value for some properties so many people feel their assessed property value is too high. If you’re interested in the current market value of your property then get in touch with me and I will provide you with a detailed analysis.

Don’t fear, an increase in your assessed property value doesn’t necessarily mean that you will see an increase in the amount of property taxes that you pay this year. The City of Vancouver uses an averaging system that helps home owners that have been affected by high assessment increases. Detailed information on this system can be found here.

What are my payment options and am I eligible for any grants?

The City of Vancouver has a few options when it comes to paying your property taxes. First, check to see if you are eligible to receive the grant! You need to claim the grant every year so don’t forget, but they can be claimed retroactively. I’m going to focus on the basic grant because it’s the most common, but there are additional grants available for seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities. Find more information on the additional grants here.

To be eligible for the basic home owner grant, you must meet the criteria:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant.
  • Ordinarily reside in British Columbia.
  • Be a registered owner or eligible occupant of your home.
  • Have the home be your principal residence (where you live and conduct your daily activities).

The property tax grant threshold has just been raised by the BC Government. The 2016 eligibility level was $1,200,000 of assessed value, and the 2017 level is $1,600,000. If your property has an assessed or partitioned value of $1,600,000 or less, the home owner grant may reduce your taxes up to $570 or, if it’s located in a northern and rural area, up to $770.

There is also an option to defer the payment of your taxes if you’re eligible. The deferral option is available to families with children, people that are 55+, surviving spouses, and people with disabilities. More information on the deferral program is available here.

Chris Lambert | 604.340.6457 | chris@chrislambert.ca | www.chrislambert.ca

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