Q.

I haven't received my tax notice. What should I do?

A.

Our Finance Department mails tax notices to homeowners before the end of May each year. If you have not received your notice by the end of the first week of June please call the Colwood Finance Department at 250-294-8150 or email finance@colwood.ca, or visit Colwood City Hall, located at 3300 Wishart Road. A copy of your tax notice can be mailed, faxed or emailed.

Q.

How can I notify BC Assessment that my address has changed?

A.

If you have recently changed your mailing address, or if you own properties other than your principal residence, please advise BC Assessment by completing their Change of Address Notification Form.

Q.

Can I defer payment of my property taxes?

A.

If you are 55 or older, a surviving spouse or a person with a disability, you may be eligible for the Province of BC Property Tax Deferment program. The Province of BC also offers a Families with Children deferment program for taxpayers who meet specific criteria. For detailed information on the programs, visit the Property Tax Deferment program website or contact the Finance Department at 250-294-8150 or finance@colwood.ca.

Q.

Who should I contact if I need more information about property taxes?

A.

If you need more information that what is provided on the City website, please contact the Colwood Finance Department at finance@colwood.ca or 250-294-8150.

Q.

When is the Property Tax Payment Due Date?

A.

Payment for your 2017 property taxes is due on Tuesday, July 4, 2017.

Q.

What happens if I don't pay my property taxes by the due date?

A.

If you fail to pay your property taxes in full by the Property Tax Due Date, or fail to claim the Home Owner Grant, you will be charged a 10% penalty on the outstanding balance owing. No additional interest will be charged until the end of the year. On January 1st of the following year, daily interest will be charged on any outstanding balance.

Q.

I can't pay my taxes this year. What should I do?

A.

Make sure to claim your Home Owner Grant (if you are eligible) and send it in with a partial payment, or no payment, by the payment due date. You will receive a 10% penalty on the outstanding balance and then there will be no more charges until the end of the calendar year (December 31). This will give you time to pay off the balance without further charges. On January 1st, outstanding balances are charged daily interest.

You may be eligible for a Property Tax Deferment program. Please visit the Province of BC Property Tax Deferment website for further information on these low interest loan options.

Q.

I think that my property taxes are too high. Can I appeal them?

A.

No. Each year the tax rates are set by taxing authorities such as the Province of BC, the School District, the Capital Regional District, the Regional Hospital District, BC Transit, the BC Assessment Authority and the City of Colwood. Rates are based on each agency's respective budget and the total municipal assessment. All residential properties in Colwood are taxed at the same tax rate.

If you would like to appeal your property assessment, you must do so through the BC Assessment office. You must file your appeal by the end of January in the assessment year.

Q.

Can I pay my property taxes with a credit card?

A.

No, the City does not accept any credit cards for property tax payments. We do accept interact, cheques (including Visa cheques), cash or money order payments. If using interact, please ensure your account is not limited by a daily maximum limit.

Q.

My mortgage company pays my property taxes. Is there anything else that I need to do?

A.

Yes, even if your mortgage company pays your property taxes, you must ensure that you claim your Home Owner Grant if you are eligible. Your mortgage company will not claim the Home Owner Grant on your behalf. If you do not claim your Home Owner Grant by the Property Tax Payment Due Date, the outstanding balance on your tax account, equal to your unclaimed Home Owner Grant, will incur a 10% penalty.

Q.

Can I access my property tax information online?

A.

Not at this time. The City is working towards an online property tax information system which will be made available to residents in the next few years.

Q.

If I can't pay my taxes, will you sell my house by public auction?

A.

Properties that have outstanding property taxes from 2 years prior as well as the current year will be offered for Tax Sale at a public auction. You do not have to pay all three year's worth of taxes to keep your property from being sold, but the delinquent taxes (the oldest) must be cleared up before the Property Tax Sale. Please contact the Colwood Finance Department at 250-294-8150 or email finance@colwood.ca for more information.

Q.

I received a tax notice for my property but it's not my name. What should I do?

A.

If your name does not appear on the tax notice but you are a registered owner and you are eligible for the Home Owner Grant, you may apply for the grant. Please ensure that you attach a copy of your "Certificate of Title" document to your Home Owner Grant application. For further assistance, please contact our office at 250-478-5999 or bring your papers into the office.

Important: It is an offence to make a false application or a home owner grant, subject to a penalty of up to $10,000. Claimants can be audited for up to six years after they claim the grant and will be asked to prove their eligibility.

Q.

I received a property tax notice for a property that I no longer own. What should I do?

A.

If you have the information for the new owner, you should forward the tax notice to them. Alternatively, you can return the document to Colwood City Hall.

Q.

What is the Home Owner Grant?

A.

The Home Owner Grant is designed to help reduce the amount of residential property tax homeowners pay. There are two types of Home Owner Grants: the basic grant and the additional grant. The basic grant may reduce your property taxes by as much as $570. The additional grant may reduce your taxes by as much as $845. Homeowners may only apply for one grant in the calendar year. The Home Owner Grant does not apply to delinquent taxes or penalties, interest or fees.

The Home Owner Grant program provides property tax relief to reduce the tax burden for eligible owners. It is administered by the Home Owner Grant Administration Branch of the Ministry of Small Business and Revenue.

Q.

If I am selling my home, who should apply for the Home Owner Grant and pay the taxes?

A.

If you have not yet sold the property and are eligible for the grant, then you should apply for it. If you have already sold the property and the new owner(s) live at the property, then the new owner(s) should apply for it, assuming that they have not claimed a grant for any other property in this calendar year. Lawyers for buyers and sellers of property normally adjust the purchase/sale price to account for property taxes. If you are unable to see how the taxes were adjusted on your Statement of Adjustments, then you should contact your lawyer or realtor who closed your sale for further clarification.

Q.

The property taxes were paid by the lawyer. What should I do?

A.

Ask your lawyer if you are responsible for claiming the Home Owner Grant. If you are the new owner and you are to apply for the grant, ensure that you submit the grant application to Colwood City Hall by the Property Tax Due Date to avoid penalty.

Q.

I didn't claim my Home Owner Grant last year. Can I still claim it?

A.

The Provincial Government allows an extension of time in which to claim a grant for the prior year. You must be the homeowner or eligible occupant and you must meet all residency qualifications up to December 31 of that year. Retroactive grant applications are available at City Hall. Please contact the Colwood Finance Department at 250-294-8150 or email finance@colwood.ca for more information. Retroactive applications are applicable for the preceding year only.

Q.

Can I apply for the Home Owner Grant even if I don't make a tax payment?

A.

Yes. You may apply for the Home Owner Grant without making a payment. Make sure to apply for the Home Owner Grant on or by the Property Tax Due Dateto avoid penalty.

Q.

My spouse is away until after the tax due date. Can I sign the Home Owner Grant on his/her behalf?

A.

Yes, starting in 2017, a registered owner who is unable to sign the home owner grant may give someone verbal or written permission to apply for the grant on their behalf. The City does not require proof of this permission.

Q.

The property is in my name but my child is living in it. Can he/she claim the grant?

A.

No. Only the registered owner can claim a Home Owner Grant if they are eligible. Only one grant can be claimed per year, even if you own multiple properties. If the child's name appears on title, then they can claim the grant if they also meet the other eligibility criteria.

Q.

What if I don't agree with my property's assessment?

A.

Property owners have the option of appealing their property tax assessment by the end of January in the year it relates to. Please visit BC Assessment for more information on the appeal process.