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If you own a home, not only will you have to pay your mortgage, utilities, and home insurance, but there are also property taxes to budget for. Depending on where your home is located, you could be looking at paying a hefty bill every year towards these taxes.

Luckily, there are certain programs available that may allow you to defer your property tax payments to a later date. More specifically, seniors who are classified as lower-income Canadians may be able to defer their property taxes, depending on where they live and what the criteria are for the programs available to them.

Let’s take a look at property tax deferment programs available to seniors who qualify.

Property Tax Deferrals And Tax Rebates For Seniors

In Canada, most provinces and some cities offer property tax rebates or property tax deferrals. Both are designed to provide financial relief for the consumer. 

A tax rebate involves lowering the overall tax bill a homeowner receives, while a tax deferral simply extends your payment date. This is generally done through a low-cost loan offered by the government. 

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Alberta Senior Property Tax Deferral Program

The Property Tax Deferral Program for seniors in Alberta allows eligible homeowners to defer their property taxes, whether in full or partial. The deferral can be done through a low-interest home equity loan from the government of Alberta. 

Right now, the interest rate is 7.20%, which is reviewed and may be adjusted every 6 months in April and October. 

How Does It Work? 

The Seniors Property Tax Deferral Program is designed to help seniors by allowing them to defer their property taxes. Here’s how it works:

  1. Payment of Property Taxes: Instead of you paying the property taxes, the program pays them directly to your local municipality. This means your property taxes are taken care of, but it’s important to remember that this is a loan from the program to you.
  2. Caveat on Land Title: When you join this program, a legal notice, known as a caveat, is placed on your land title certificate. This caveat is a way of recording that there’s a home equity loan against your property, which is the amount of the deferred taxes.
  3. Repayment of the Loan: You don’t need to make monthly payments on this loan. However, there are specific situations when the loan must be repaid:
    1. If you sell your home: When the property is sold, the loan must be paid back from the proceeds of the sale.
    2. If you are no longer the owner: If for any reason you cease to own the home (such as transferring ownership), the loan becomes due.
    3. Change in primary residence: If the home is no longer your primary residence, for example, if you move out permanently, then the loan needs to be repaid.

In essence, the program offers a way for seniors to manage their cash flow by deferring the immediate burden of property taxes, with the understanding that the deferred amount will eventually be repaid under the conditions outlined above.

Who’s Eligible For The Alberta Senior Property Tax Deferral Program?

To qualify for this program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a resident of Alberta
  • Live in Alberta for at least 3 months
  • Be 65 years of age or older
  • Own a residential home in Alberta which is considered your primary residence 
  • Have a minimum of 25% home equity 

BC Tax Deferral Program

The BC tax deferment program is a low-interest loan program that helps homeowners pay their property taxes. Two types of groups can qualify under this program: seniors and families who support a financially dependent child. 

How Does The Program Work?  

If you are eligible for the program, you will have the option to defer your property taxes for the year. This means you can choose not to pay your property taxes immediately and instead pay them at a later date. 

It’s important to understand that you have the flexibility to pay either a portion or the entire deferred amount at any time during the year, based on your financial situation.

However, keep in mind that interest is applied to the deferred amount. This interest is added to your account every month, specifically on the 23rd. The interest will continue to accumulate monthly until you repay the loan. 

Therefore, while deferring your taxes can provide financial relief in the short term, the accumulating interest means that the total amount you owe will increase over time until the loan is fully repaid.

Who Is Eligible For The British Columbia Tax Deferral Program?

To qualify for the tax deferral program in BC as a senior, you must meet the following criteria: 

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who lives in BC.
  • Be 55 or older in the current year or be a person with disabilities.
  • Be an owner of the home and have lived in BC for a minimum of 1 year before applying.
  • Pay property taxes for the home to the municipality or province
  • Paid all property taxes in previous years
  • You have at least 25% equity based on the assessed value of the property

If you’re a parent, stepparent, or caregiver who is financially supporting a child, you may also be eligible for the program. However, requirements may slightly vary. For more information, please visit the government website.

Ontario Provincial Land Tax Deferral Program For Low-Income Seniors And Low-Income Persons With Disabilities

In Ontario, low-income seniors and low-income residents with disabilities may be eligible for a deferral of provincial land tax and education tax. This is applied to the tax increase in the current year.

Who Is Eligible For The Program? 

To qualify for this program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are a low-income senior aged 65 years of age or older and have received a guaranteed income supplement benefit.
  • You own a residential or farm property and used it as your principal residence for a minimum of 1 year before applying.
  • You are a low-income person with disabilities who received an Ontario disability support program benefit.

To apply for the program, you must provide proof of your age and receipt of a benefit paid under the guaranteed income supplement. If you are a person with disabilities, you must provide proof of receipt of your benefit paid under the Ontario disability support program.

Halifax Property Tax Exemption And Deferral Programs

Residents of Halifax have a few options when it comes to deferring their property taxes:

Rebate 

The city will pay part of your property taxes if your household income is under $45,000. The rebate amount depends on income and taxes. 

Rebate & Deferral

You may hold off on paying the rest of the current year’s property taxes after the rebate has been applied to your tax account. You will be charged interest on the deferred amount, which is Prime -2% for people in the program and Prime +2% for those who didn’t reapply. 

What Is The Prime Rate?

The Prime Rate is a benchmark interest rate typically used by banks for lending. For those enrolled, the rate is 2% below the bank’s standard ‘Prime Rate’ (Prime -2%). However, if you didn’t reapply for the program, the rate is 2% above the Prime Rate (Prime +2%).

Deferral Of Local Improvement Charges 

In the Halifax Property Tax Exemption and Deferral Programs, local improvement charges for services like water, sewer, or road work may result in a lien being placed against your property. The charges are paid once per year and can be paid as part of a payment plan. 

What Is A Lien?

A lien is a legal claim or hold on a property, used as security for a debt or charge owed. These charges are due annually, but there’s an option to pay them through a payment plan, making it more manageable to meet this financial obligation.

Payment Plan

Instead of making two payments, you can pay in smaller, more manageable amounts monthly. 

New Brunswick Property Tax Deferral Program For Seniors

Seniors who reside in New Brunswick can have their annual increase in property taxes on their primary home deferred. In exchange, a lien will be placed on the property and will have to be repaid when the home is either sold or the title is transferred. The Finance and Treasury Board will keep a tally of the total amount in deferred taxes and interest that is owed every year.

Who Is Eligible For The New Brunswick Property Tax Deferral Program For Seniors?

To be eligible for the program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 65 years of age or older.
  • Be the owner of the property.
  • Live in the property as their primary residence. 
  • Be currently receiving the Provincial Residential Tax Credit.
  • Have a property tax account that is in good standing as of December 31 of the year before application.

Manitoba Seniors’ Property Tax Deferment Act 

Eligible seniors in the province of Manitoba have the opportunity to agree with the government to defer property and school taxes on their homes. With this program, the government will pay the property taxes on behalf of seniors.  

Seniors will then owe the amount deferred to the government by way of a lien placed against the property. The debt will incur interest at a rate of no more than 1% over the government’s borrowing rate.

Who Is Eligible For The Manitoba Seniors’ Property Tax Deferment Act?

To be eligible for the program, seniors must meet the following criteria: 

  • Be a resident of Manitoba (for at least 2 years)
  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent Canadian resident
  • Be at least 60 years old, a widow/widower, or a person with a disability 
  • The property’s assessed value cannot be over $300,000
  • The property taxes have been fully repaid for each year up to and including the year before the year of application

What Are Property Taxes?

Property taxes are paid on a property and are based on the value of that property, including the land. Each municipality has a tax rate, which is then applied to the property value and paid by its owner. Property assessors will assess the value of local properties, and that value is what is used to calculate property taxes against the local tax rate. 

Property taxes are typically calculated on an annual basis. These taxes are then collected and used by the local government to cover the cost of law enforcement, schools, road construction and maintenance, sewers, parks, and so forth. 

What Does It Mean To Defer Your Property Taxes? 

Deferring your property taxes simply means paying them at a later date after they were initially due. This can give you more time to get your finances in order so that you have the funds available to pay your property taxes. In exchange for this service, you will have to pay interest on the deferred amount. The rate paid will depend on where you are located. The rules may also differ from one province to the next.

Final Thoughts

Property taxes can add to the already high costs of owning a home, especially for seniors who are living on fixed or reduced incomes. Luckily, property tax deferral programs are available in provinces across Canada. Seniors who qualify may be able to put off paying these taxes until a later date, which can help them better manage their budget and cash flows.

Property Tax Deferment For Seniors FAQs

Are my property taxes included in my mortgage payments?

Lenders typically include property taxes in your mortgage payments. When property taxes are paid with mortgage payments, the lender will deposit the property tax payment into an escrow account. When these taxes are due for payment, the lender will use the money in the escrow account to pay the taxes on your behalf.

How do I pay my property taxes?

You can pay your property taxes through your mortgage or directly to the municipality via mail, telephone, online, or by a pre-authorized payment plan.

What happens if the seller already paid their property taxes?

When you buy a house, your lawyer will search the title of the house to make sure that everything is clear and that all expenses are up-to-date and paid. This includes the property taxes on the home. If these taxes are not up-to-date, the seller will have to pay them in full before the real estate transaction goes through. However, if the seller already prepaid the property taxes for the entire year and you take possession before the year is up, you will have to reimburse the seller a prorated amount.
Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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