You have work to do before claiming your homeowners grant this year | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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You have work to do before claiming your homeowners grant this year

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
January 21, 2021 - 11:00 AM

It used to be simple to save $770 on your municipal property taxes each year.

All you had to do was print your name, phone number, tick a box and put your signature on your tax notice to claim your basic Home Owner Grant, or go to your municipal government's website and essentially do the same thing online.

That’s changed for 2021.

Now you’ll have to apply online directly to the provincial government.

“We are centralizing this program because municipalities told us that local program administration was a burden, and we want to support our local government partners,” the Ministry of Finance said in an email.

“Centralization has other benefits such as full online access, which not all municipalities had been able to provide, phone service and quicker application processing, which will help prevent ineligible homeowners from being penalized for late property tax payments.”

Since 1957, the province administered the Home Owner Grant program for people living in rural areas, about 13 per cent of B.C. homeowners. Now it will do it for everyone.

Once homeowners get their tax notices in the mail, usually in May, they will be directed to apply for the provincial grant online. If they qualify, they will be given a tax credit and their local government will be informed that they were approved.

When they go to pay their tax bill, they will check the box for the basic grant or the senior’s grant, and pay the reduced amount just as they always have.

The change will likely save a little on administrative costs but not likely this first year since time will probably have to be spent helping homeowners through the new process, Angie Schumacher, Kelowna’s revenue supervisor, said.

The province took over administration of the property tax deferral process last year, Schumacher said. The Home Owner Grant uses the same program so those deferring their taxes will be familiar with how it works.

The application portal isn’t live yet.

For more information go here.

Those who can’t apply online can call 1-888-355-2700.

— This article was originally published Jan. 20, 2021.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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