YOUR 2007 RURAL PROPERTY TAXES

February 2007

Rural property is land outside cities, towns, districts and village boundaries.

YOUR RURAL PROPERTY TAX NOTICE

You should receive your annual property tax notice in the mail by the middle of June. If you do not receive it by then, contact your local Service BC-Government Agent office or the Surveyor of Taxes office in Victoria.

HOME OWNER GRANT

The home owner grant application is on the back of the tax notice. To determine if you are eligible, refer to the brochure, A House is not a Home unless you live in it , included with your rural property tax notice.

When claiming your home owner grant, you must:

  • apply for the grant each year, as the grant is not automatic;

  • complete and return the application form to the Surveyor of Taxes office, your local Service BC-Government Agent office or your financial institution with your tax payment (see next section for details); and

  • claim your grant and make your tax payment by the July 3 due date to avoid a penalty on any outstanding balance.

You can claim the home owner grant without paying taxes by applying for the grant before the due date. Financial institutions can only accept a home owner grant application with the property tax payment. You can mail your home owner grant application or file electronically at www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/hog/forms.htm.

HOW TO PAY YOUR RURAL PROPERTY TAXES

Rural property taxes must be paid by July 3. A 5% penalty applies if your payment is late (including any unclaimed home owner grant amount). A further 5% penalty is added to any unpaid balance after October 31 of the current tax year. Payments made from outside Canada must be in Canadian funds drawn on a Canadian correspondent bank.

You can pay your rural property taxes different ways.

BY MAIL

Send your payment to the Surveyor of Taxes, PO Box 9446 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria BC V8W 9V6. Mailed payments must be postmarked not later than July 3 to avoid the late penalty. Mail your cheque early, as some post offices do not always postmark mail on the deposit date.

IN PERSON

You can pay at most Canadian financial institutions and apply for the home owner grant at the same time. Be aware that financial institutions process payments received in the afternoon using the next business date. You can also pay at your local Service BC-Government Agent office or through the drop box located at 1802 Douglas Street in Victoria. We cannot accept cash payments at the drop box location.

PC/TELEPHONE BANKING

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Contact your financial institution for details. Rural Property Taxation is listed as a “payee” under one of the following: “Prov BC - Rural Property Tax” or “BC - Rural Tax”. Enter your complete 15 or 16 digit account number (without spaces or decimals) shown on your property tax notice. If you are eligible, complete and mail your home owner grant application to the Surveyor of Taxes or Service BC-Government Agent office before the due date.

CAN MY FINANCIAL INSTITUTION PAY MY TAXES?

Your financial institution can pay your taxes for you if you arrange this through your mortgage agreement. However, if the financial institution makes a payment error, you are still responsible and the resulting penalty will not be waived. You must submit your home owner grant application directly through a Service BC-Government Agent office or the Surveyor of Taxes office in Victoria or electronically at www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/rpt/forms.htm .

HOW DO PROPERTY TAXES APPLY TO MULTIPLE OWNERS?

When you share ownership of a property, each registered owner receives a tax notice reflecting the full amount of the tax due on the property. One owner should send in a cheque for the full amount billed to avoid processing duplicate payments.

WHAT IF I AM AWAY IN MAY, JUNE AND JULY?

You can mail a post-dated cheque before the due date of July 3. You may claim the home owner grant before the due date or you may give power of attorney to another person to claim the grant for you. A power-of-attorney document must accompany your grant application. A Power of Attorney form (FIN 80) is available on the web at www.sbr.gov.bc.

ca/hog/forms.htm .

CAN I PREPAY MY TAXES?

You may make one prepayment per month of $50 or more, each month from January 1 through May 15. If you prepay your taxes (in full or in part) between January 1 and May 15, you will receive interest from the prepayment date through to June 30. Prepayment is only available if you have no unpaid taxes from previous years. When prepaying, you must apply for your home owner grant when you receive your tax notice.

CAN I DEFER MY TAXES?

You may qualify to defer the taxes on your home if you are 55 years or older, a surviving spouse or a person with disabilities as defined by Regulation. Please refer to our brochure The Property Tax Deferment Program for further details

CAN FARMERS GET A TAX DUE DATE EXTENSION?

Yes, the tax due date for rural farms may be extended to October 31, if your application is approved. First-time applicants must apply by July 3. Contact your Service BC-Government Agent office or the Surveyor of Taxes office for more information. Farmers who received the time extension in the previous year and who remain eligible do not need to reapply for the current year. A 10% penalty applies to taxes unpaid after October 31.

HOW IS MY PROPERTY ASSESSED?

Property taxes are levied on the market value of real property (land and buildings). BC Assessment determines this value as of July 1 of each year. They also determine your property classification for tax purposes. Assessment notices are issued annually in January reflecting the property’s value as of July 1 of the previous year. You can appeal your assessment but not your property taxes.

HOW IS MY PROPERTY TAXED?

Each public agency with taxing authority sets a budget for the amount of tax revenue it requires. Tax rates vary among property classifications, but most are calculated by dividing the budget needs of the authority by its assessment base. The appropriate tax rate is applied to individual property assessments and the taxes are then calculated. Tax exemptions for some categories of property – farms, for example – are calculated as part of the assessment before the tax rate is applied.

To adjust for the current inflation level, the amount of school tax on the average residence has been increased by 2% for 2007. However, with rising assessed values, most residential school tax rates have been reduced.

The provincial government sets school tax rates for residential and non-residential properties. Residential school taxes historically contribute about 13% of public education costs.

Within each non-residential property class, the rates vary by property classification, but are uniform throughout the province. Taxes for non-residential properties historically contribute about 20% of public education costs.

The provincial government sets the same rural area property tax rate throughout the province. These revenues help pay for rural area public services such as police protection and local road maintenance.

The local service taxes shown on your tax notice raise revenues based on the budget needs set by local government bodies, such as regional districts and regional hospital districts. There may also be service levies, such as for street lighting, fire protection, operating recreational facilities, and water and sewer systems. Your tax notice may also

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include local service levies calculated on a per-parcel basis or on the frontage of your property, rather than on its assessed value.

If you occupy Crown land in rural British Columbia, you are responsible for paying property taxes levied during your term of occupation. Property taxes are in addition to the rental fee charged by the Integrated Land Management Bureau. You must pay property taxes as a condition of your Crown lease, licence, permit, right-of-way or easement.

TAX ADJUSTMENTS

Your property taxes may be adjusted due to a supplementary assessment, after the main assessment roll has been set. If an adjustment occurs, you will receive a notice of the revised taxes.

If you are expecting a decrease in your assessment and taxes, the original amount remains due and payable by July 3. Penalties apply to any unpaid amount. Unclaimed home owner grant amounts are included in the total when a penalty is calculated. If BC Assessment provides revised assessment information, your account is adjusted. If your taxes are reduced after you paid them, a refund is sent to you on amounts greater than $35. Credit amounts of $35 or less remain on your account.

If you are expecting an increase in your assessment and taxes, you must pay the original amount by July 3 to avoid a penalty on any outstanding amount. If your taxes increase after you paid the original amount, you will receive a notice of revised taxes and will have 30 days to pay the increase. After 30 days, penalties apply to the additional unpaid amount.

For overpayments, a credit is applied to your tax account unless you request a refund in writing. Credit balances accrue interest.

NEW HOME OWNER INFORMATION

Be aware that you become liable for all outstanding taxes when you purchase a property. If the prior owner paid the current year’s taxes in full, or if you already claimed a grant on another property, then you cannot claim the home owner grant on the property in the year of purchase.

MAILING ADDRESS

If you do not receive your tax notice by the middle of June, please contact us. Failure to receive a tax notice does not prevent a penalty from being applied after July 3. If you move, or if the address where your tax notice is sent changes, inform the nearest BC Assessment office, your local Service BC-Government Agent office, Land Title Office or the Surveyor of Taxes office in Victoria. Unless notified, we rely on the address and ownership records of the Land Title Office or Manufactured Home Registry provided by BC Assessment.

MORE INFORMATION

The Surveyor of Taxes (rural property taxes, tax deferment or the home owner grant) Ministry of Small Business and Revenue PO Box 9446 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria BC V8W 9V6 Phone: 387-0555 in Victoria E-mail: ruraltax@gov.bc.ca

www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/rpt

(also for information on manufactured homes taxation, occupied rural Crown land and rural farm land)

In person: The Surveyor of Taxes 1802 Douglas Street, Victoria (Wheelchair accessible)

Enquiry BC

604 660-2421 from Vancouver, or 1 800 663-7867 from throughout British Columbia and request a transfer to 387-0555.

Service BC-Government Agents

Check the blue pages of your local telephone directory for the number. www. governmentagents.gov.bc.ca .

BC Assessment

Check the white pages of your telephone book for the office located nearest to your property. www.bcassessment.bc.ca