Seniors can apply now for the deferral of the payment of the property tax 2022 | Life

VICTORIA – British Columbia homeowners age 55 and older can apply now to defer their 2022 property tax payments through the provincial government’s property tax deferral program.

“The provincial property tax deferral program can act as a financial lifeline for low-income seniors, but many don’t know it,” said Isobel Mackenzie, BC Seniors Advocate. “Through this program, the province will pay property taxes to the local government on behalf of the property owner and save some seniors thousands of dollars each year. Our office recently conducted a survey of low-income seniors and found that although nearly half were homeowners, less than 15% of respondents used the property tax deferral program despite their difficulty paying other household expenses.

The application window for seniors wishing to apply for the property tax deferral is between May 1 and December 31, 2022 for this tax year. The Local Government Property Tax Notice, often sent out in early June each year, contains the property information needed to complete the online application process. Applying early can help homeowners avoid missed payment penalties that could be imposed by local governments if property taxes are not paid by the July 4 deadline. The province is also encouraging property owners to use the eTaxBC app to see the status of their claim well before the tax deadline to ensure they don’t face late penalties.

“The majority of seniors in British Columbia live on less income than a minimum wage job would earn them, and despite owning their homes, they struggle to pay their bills each month. The Property Tax Deferral Program will leave seniors with more money to cover other necessities such as food, transportation and medical expenses. I encourage anyone who is financially challenged and who qualifies for the program to apply,” Mackenzie said.

The Office of the Seniors Advocate’s Monitoring Seniors Services 2021 report shows that 65,505 BC seniors deferred their property taxes in 2020/21. The average homeowner deferred $4,297 in 2020/21 and only paid $51.56 in interest using this program. The report also showed that while the value of deferred taxes under the program increases each year, there were 15% fewer new users in 2020/21 compared to the previous year.

The Office of the Seniors Advocate is an independent office of the provincial government with a mandate to monitor services for seniors and report on systemic issues affecting seniors. The office also provides information and referrals to seniors and their caregivers by calling toll-free 1-877-952-3181, BC211, emailing [email protected], Canada Post and the OSA website.

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