To be eligible for the grant, the property owner must be:
• A Canadian citizen or landed immigrant and reside in British Columbia.
• The registered owner or eligible occupant of the home located within the province.
• Living in the home as your principal residence. The grant doesn’t apply to summer cottages, second homes or rental properties.
Spouses who live together, who are married or live together in a marriage-like relationship, including same-gender partners, can qualify for a grant on one residence in the province in a calendar year.
Spouses who live apart can each claim a grant on their principal residence if they have a written separation agreement or a court order recognizing the separation.
Eligible home owners must apply for their grant each year before your tax due date.
How much is the grant?
For 2010, the basic grant reduces taxes for home owners under the age of 65 by up to $570.
The additional grant for home owners aged 65+ and eligible veterans and disabled home owners is $275, for up to a total of $845.
The basic grant is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of assessed value over $1,050,000 and is eliminated on homes assessed at $1,164,000 and above.
The additional grant is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of assessed value over $1,050,000 and is eliminated on homes assessed at $1,219,000 and above. For information, please visit: www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/hog
Multiple owners, multiple grants?
If you own a property with others, decide which owner will pay the taxes so you don’t pay twice. If, for example, there are three owners living in a dwelling as a principal residence, only one Home Owner Grant can be claimed.
You may qualify for the Home Owner Grant if you’re a shareholder of a corporation, or a member of a housing cooperative or housing society that owns:
• an apartment building
• housing cooperative buildings
• housing society buildings
The corporation or cooperative or society applies for grants for all eligible property or units in the building and passes the grant benefit to qualifying occupants. An eligible property includes:
• land shown as a separate taxable parcel on a tax roll that has a taxable improvement
• a building containing at least two apartment units, each occupied by an eligible occupant
• eligible land cooperative residences
• a multi-dwelling leased parcel with two or more residences on it
Property owners aged 55 and older or turning 55 in 2009 may qualify for a deferment of all or part of their property taxes.
The Property Tax Deferment program was created for property owners at risk for losing their homes because of their inability to pay property taxes.
The BC Government pays the local government all property taxes for the home owner. Interest on deferment accounts is not compounded and is charged at a rate not greater than two per cent below the bank prime rate. Deferred taxes are eventually deducted from the home’s value when it is sold.
To qualify, home owners must be:
• aged 55+, or
• a surviving spouse of an eligible owner, and/or
• a person with a disability, and
• a Canadian citizen or permanent resident under the Immigration Act (Canada) who has lived in BC for at least one year before applying
Home owners must also:
• have and maintain a minimum equity of 25 per cent of the current assessed value as determined by BC Assessment, and
• maintain a current fire insurance policy on their home
Home owners can’t defer utility charges (sewer, water, recycling, garbage), penalties, interest or user fees.
Courtesy for Real Estate Board of the Greater Vancouver.