How to Offset Your Property Tax Payments in BC with the Homeowner Grant Update

May 19, 2020 | Published by

In January 2020, the provincial government of BC lowered the homeowner grant threshold from $1.65 million to $1.525 million due to declining house prices throughout 2019. As real estate lawyers who provide legal services for conveyancing in Vancouver, we’re here to keep our clients updated with any information that may result in significant savings. 

Here’s all you need to know about the homeowner grant. 

What is the homeowner grant?

The homeowner grant reduces the amount of property tax you pay for your principal residence. There are specific criteria you must meet to be eligible for the grant, but certain demographics are eligible for up to $1,045. The property, purchase price, and age, among other items, all dictate the amount you qualify for. 

Who is eligible for the homeowner grant?

There are two main categories under which homeowners may qualify. Our real estate lawyers will help break it down for you. 

Under 65 years of age

This is known as the regular or basic grant. Homeowners under the age of 65 may receive a $570 grant if they live in the Capital Regional District, the Metro Vancouver Regional District, or the Fraser Valley Regional District. For other areas in BC, the grant amount is slightly higher at $770. 

If your principal residence is assessed at up to $1.525 million, you may receive the full basic grant if you meet the following criteria:

  • Be the registered owner of the residence and occupy it
  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada that lives in BC

Over 65 years of age

If you’re a senior aged 65 years or older, you may qualify for an additional $275 on top of the basic grant of $570. Homeowners who live in the Capital Regional District, the Metro Vancouver Regional District, or the Fraser Valley Regional District may receive a grant of $845. For other areas in BC, the grant amount is $1045, the maximum grant amount currently offered. 

If you’re turning 65 in the current year or older, and your principal residence is assessed up to $1.525 million, you may receive the grant if you meet the following criteria:

  • Be the registered owner of the residence and occupy it
  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada that lives in BC

You may also qualify as a homeowner under the following categories:

  • A veteran
  • A person with disabilities
  • A person living with a spouse or relative with disabilities
  • A spouse or relative of a deceased owner

These factors may allow you to receive a higher grant amount than the standard $570. 

What if my property is over $1,525,000?

If your property is over $1.525 million, you may still qualify for the homeowner grant. However, the grant is reduced by $5 for every $1000 of assessed value above the threshold limit. 

Why was the threshold lowered in 2020?

The lowered threshold is due to declining home values in the province. The BC Assessment board stated an 11% annual decline in the typical value of single-family homes in Vancouver. Our real estate lawyers also noticed decreases in the benchmark price of homes throughout 2019. 

When should I apply for the homeowner grant?

You should apply for the homeowner grant when you receive your property tax notice. You’ll need to submit your application for the grant before your taxes are due, or you may incur late payment penalties. However, you can apply for the grant until Dec. 31st of the current tax year. 

You can also apply for the grant retroactively if you qualified for the grant last year but never applied. 

Are you looking for a real estate lawyer?

Our real estate lawyers are trained to handle all aspects of real estate law. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell property, create a co-ownership agreement, or refinance your mortgage, our team at Morris-Law can help. We keep up with the latest developments in the real estate market to provide you with the most comprehensive legal services possible. If you’re looking for a real estate lawyer, give us a call at 778-819-8553.