Home owner grant threshold increases in 2016

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With the majority of property assessments arriving in mailboxes across the province this month, homeowners may be wondering which programs can help with the cost of property taxes. Learn about home owner grants and property tax deferment options at http://ow.ly/WFnRz. Pic Cred: Jennavieve Chalifoux.

British Columbians who own homes valued up to $1.2 million may be eligible to receive a full home owner grant this year, while a partial grant may be available if the home is valued above this threshold.

The home owner grant provides modest property tax relief to those who need it most. Last year, this program returned nearly $800 million to BC residents. For 2016, more than 91% of homes are below the threshold.

BC Assessment estimates the values of homes based on their market value on July 1 each year. For homes valued below the threshold, the basic grant can reduce residential property taxes on an owner’s principal residence by up to $570.

An additional grant up to $275 is available for homeowners who are aged 65 or over, who qualify under the persons with disabilities category, or who are eligible to receive certain war-veteran allowances. The northern and rural home owner benefit provides an additional $200 in property tax relief to households outside the Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Capital Regional Districts.

Low-income homeowners who would have received the additional home owner grant except for the high value of their home can apply for a low-income grant supplement.

Homeowners who face difficulty keeping up with rising property assessments in BC may also be eligible to defer all or a portion of their property taxes. The property tax deferment program provides low-interest loans that allow eligible homeowners to defer payment of annual property taxes until their home is sold or becomes part of an estate. This program is available to homeowners who are 55 or older, surviving spouses of any age, and persons with disabilities. Families who are financially supporting children may also qualify.

For more information about the home owner grant, visit www.gov.bc.ca/homeownergrant. For more information about property deferment programs, visit www.gov.bc.ca/propertytaxdeferment.

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