Property tax notices arriving in mailboxes
As property tax notices start hitting mailboxes in the region, the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) is sharing information with residents on how to interpret their notice and who to call with questions.
“The RDEK is not a taxing authority, so for all rural properties in the East Kootenay, your tax notices are sent from the Surveyor of Taxes in Victoria,” explained RDEK Chief Financial Officer Holly Ronnquist.
“The province collects the provincial-rural, school and regional district taxes and then sends the regional district it’s portion on behalf of the rural residents.”
The RDEK’s portion of the tax notice for rural property owners is found in the local services section of the notice and generally accounts for about one-third of the overall tax bill. The specific amount depends on how many local RDEK services the property owner receives, such as fire protection, water or sewer, which are only charged to the residents within the service area receiving that service.
Those individual services will be listed separately on the tax notice. All RDEK rural property owners will see one line item on their tax notice for the general services, which include everything from 9-1-1 service and libraries to building inspection, solid waste and recycling. This one is named slightly differently for each area, but is generally something similar to ‘AREA B – East Kootenay.’
“If people have questions about how much they are paying for a specific RDEK service, such as their water or recycling, we are happy to answer those questions; however, questions about the provincial services on their tax notice or their BC assessment should be directed to the province,” explained Ronnquist. Rural property owners who have questions about their property tax bill and home owner grant, should contact the Surveyor of Taxes at 1-888-355-2700. Questions about their property assessment should be directed to the BC Assessment Authority at 1-866-825-8322.
Unlike regional districts, municipalities within the East Kootenay are taxing authorities. Property owners within an incorporated municipality should contact their city hall, district or village office for property tax information, unless the question is regarding the local service section of their tax notice.
When it comes time to pay their property taxes, rural property owners pay the province, not the RDEK. This can be done through any Service BC location or online.
Claiming the homeowner grant should be done online, and directions are included in each tax notice or on the provincial government’s website by searching “property taxes in rural areas.”
The RDEK’s 2021 operating budget totals $37.8 million, which results in an average increase in taxation – for the line items related to RDEK services – of 2.7% for rural residents and two per cent for municipal residents for the municipal contribution to RDEK services.
To help residents and property owners better understand the 2021 budget and how their tax dollars translate into the services the RDEK provides, the RDEK has prepared a “Snapshot” which is available, along with a full copy of the adopted five-year financial plan, on the Financial Services Department page on www.rdek.bc.ca.