Property Taxes Special Edition

It's Property Tax Time

By now home owners and businesses through out the province have received their annal property tax notices in the mail.  Property taxes are due July 3, 2012.

Property owners who haven't received a tax notice, should contact their municipal finance department and arrange for a duplicate notice. Property owners are responsible for ensuring that the local government and BC Assessment have your correct mailing address. Property owners must pay property taxes whether or not they receive a notice.

What taxes do property owners pay?
Take a close look at a property tax notice. About 50% of the amount owing is levied by the local municipality. Municipalities are also required to collect the remainder for other taxing authorities and have no control over these levies. Here is a summary:
Municipal tax – is set by council and staff in the municipality’s annual budget process. It’s based on revenue needs for infrastructure and services.
Regional district tax – is set by the regional districts for services such as regional water and sewage treatment. For example, Metro Vancouver tells their municipal governments what their revenue needs are, and the municipalities collect on their behalf. In rural areas, the province Surveyor of Taxes collects for regional districts.
School Tax – is set by the BC government to fund schools. Residential rates vary by school district. School taxes are paid by residential and non-residential property owners.
Hospital tax – is set by the regional hospital district to help fund local health facilities. For example, Metro Vancouver hospitals are funded by the province not by property taxes. Outside Metro Vancouver, hospital taxes are still levied.
Other taxes – are set by local taxing authorities and collected by the municipality to fun BX Assessment, the Municipal Finance Authority of BC and TransLink.

For questions about taxes levies by other taxing authorities, contact:
• BC Assessment Authority, 6074-241-1361
• Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority (TransLink), 604-432-4000
• Metro Vancouver, 604-432-6200
• Municipal Finance Authority, 250-383-1181 (Victoria)
• School Taxes, 250-590-0239 (Ministry of Finance, Victoria)

Avoid late payment penalties
Property owners must pay their taxes by July 3, 2012 of there is a 5% penalty. Property taxpayers who don’t pay be September 4, 2012, face an additional 5% penalty. Property owners failing to pay for three consecutive years, could forfeit their property to tax sale. Information about tax sale dates can be found on local government websites.

The upside of property taxes
• Property taxes help fund a range of local capital projects and services, including:
• Animal control and shelters
• Archives/libraries/museums
• Bicycle lanes/paths/walkways
• Building Regulation
• Community centres
• Energy efficiency upgrades
• Environmental protection
• Garbage and recycling
• Heritage planning
• Local road maintenance
• Parks/trails/green space
• Police/fire/emergency services
• Safe drinking water
• Sewage treatment
• Sidewalks
• Swimming pools/tennis courts/skating rinks/playing fields 

Artice from The Open House, Volume 7, Number 7, June 29, 2012

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