Property tax grant program goes central
Starting this year, B.C. homeowners will apply for their homeowner grant through the province, not their municipality, which the Ministry of Finance says will make applying for the grant quicker and easier.
“By administering the grant centrally, we’ll make the process simpler for people and less of a burden for local governments,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “With this change, we can provide all British Columbians a secure online application and access to services, such as phone-based support, while removing the need for them to go to their municipal office.”
The homeowner grant program provides tax relief to B.C. homeowners each year. The change to provincial administration will streamline the process and ensure everyone who is eligible receives a reduction in their annual property taxes.
Prior to this change, local governments administered the program in municipalities and the province administered the rural grant program. Budget 2020 announced the centralization of the program following discussions with municipalities that told government that administration of the yearly grant program was a burden.
“For decades, the homeowner grant was successfully administered through a partnership between the province and local government partners, but as the program grew, it became a larger responsibility for our municipal partners,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “Streamlining this program will allow municipalities to focus on other critical municipal services that people rely on.”
Annual tax notices will continue to be sent by municipalities but will include a link to the province’s online grant application.
Homeowners should apply once they receive their property tax notice. If they have not yet applied for their 2020 grant, they can do so retroactively.
“For more than a year, local government and Ministry of Finance staff have been working together to ensure the smooth transition of this program to the provincial government,” said Brian Frenkel, president, Union of BC Municipalities. “This change will provide administrative improvements requested by local government and supports the implementation of the provincial housing plan.”
B.C. municipalities have helped the province administer the homeowner grant program following its introduction in 1957.