Home Owner Grant

Since 1957, the BC Government has helped reduce the amount of property taxes you pay to your local government.

The following six grants are available (updated January 2013):

1. Basic Home Owner Grant

This is a grant of up to $570 for qualifying home owners. For 2013, the Basic Grant is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of assessed value over $1,295,000, and is eliminated on homes assessed at $1,409,000 or more.

2. Additional Home Owner Grant

This is an additional grant of up to $275 for qualifying home owners age 65+, disabled persons or veterans, bringing the total Basic and Additional Grant amounts up to $845. The Additional Grant is eliminated on homes assessed at $1,464,000 or more.

For the Basic and the Additional Grants, spouses living together (married, common-law or same gender) can qualify for a grant on only one principal residence each year.

Spouses living apart can each claim a grant on their principal residence provided they have a written separation agreement or a court order recognizing their separation.

3. Multiple Home Owner Grant

Property owners jointly owning a home must decide who is paying the property taxes to avoid paying twice.
Even if all owners live in the home as a principal residence, only one Home Owner Grant can be claimed.

Shareholders of a corporation or members of a housing cooperative or housing society that owns an apartment building, housing cooperative buildings or housing society buildings may also be eligible to claim the Home Owner Grant.

The corporation, cooperative or society applies for grants for all eligible properties or units in a complex and passes the grant benefit to qualifying occupants. An eligible property may include:
•  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 residence; and
•  a multi-dwelling leased parcel with two or more residences on it.

4. Retroactive Home Owner Grant

For qualifying home owners, a retroactive grant may be approved for the previous year only. Home owners must:
•  apply in writing for an extension on or after January 1 and before December 31 in the year following the year the owner
did not apply for the grant; and
•  complete an application form with documentation supporting residency and reasons for missing the deadline.

Applications must be made to the Municipal Tax Collector or to the Surveyor of Taxes if the property is in a rural area.

For eligibility criteria visit: www.sbr.gov.bc.ca and in the search box enter Home Owner Grant and then go to Retroactive Grant.

5. Home Owner Grant Low-Income Grant Supplement

This program is aimed at qualifying low-income owners of homes assessed at more than $1,285,000 (for the 2012 tax year). Home owners must:
•  be Canadian citizens or permanent residents;
•  live in the home as their principal residence;
•  have a maximum annual income of $32,000; and
•  be 65+ years of age or a veteran, veteran’s spouse or widow/widower receiving veterans benefits, or a person with a
disability; or have a dependent child.

The supplement is up to $845 in the Lower Mainland and up to $1,045 in northern and rural areas.

6. Home Owner Grant Veterans Supplement

This program is provided to qualifying low-income veterans who are not eligible for the Additional Grant. Veterans must:
•  be Canadian citizens or permanent residents;
•  be under the age of 65;
•  live in the home as their principal residence; and
•  have a maximum annual income of $32,000.

The grant is the difference between the Basic Grant ($570) and the Additional Grant ($275) to a maximum of $275.

For information, go to www.fin.gov.bc.ca and enter Home Owner Grant Supplement programs in the search box.
Note: The Home Owner Grant does not apply to second homes, summer cottages or rental properties. Further information is available from the Home Owner Grant Explanatory Notes section on the back of the tax notice.

How to claim the Home Owner Grant

Taxpayers qualifying for the Home Owner Grant must complete the application each year. The application is on the bottom of the property tax notice and in larger municipalities, it is also available online through the Electronic Home Owner Grant (eHOG) service available until December 31 each year.To apply for the grant, home owners need to reference their 12-digit tax folio number and access code from the front of the tax notice located immediately under the owner’s mailing address.To claim the grant electronically, visit the municipality’s website and look for Electronic Home Owner Grant (eHOG) or enter those keywords into the search box.Residential property owners will receive a confirmation number that the claim has been electronically received.

Grant applications must be completed by July 3, 2012, even if the home owner is not paying taxes at that time. The grant is considered unpaid tax until it is claimed. By claiming the grant before the due date, home owners avoid paying a penalty on that portion of the tax.

The grant is applied toward the current year’s property tax (primarily toward the school tax portion) and doesn’t apply to regional taxes, delinquent taxes, penalties, utilities or user fees which may also appear on the tax notice.

Property taxpayers won’t receive the grant if they fail to fully complete and submit the application form electronically or on the bottom of your tax notice.

Taxpayers must claim their grants by the tax due date to avoid a 5% penalty.

Taxpayers must submit the completed grant application even if they aren’t making a payment, for example, if a mortgage company is paying the taxes.

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