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Buying Property In BC

Property Transfer Tax:

Property Transfer Tax is a land registration tax. It must be paid when an application for a taxable transaction is made at any Land Title Office in British Columbia to register changes to a certificate of title. Property Transfer Tax is payable on the fair market value of the property being transferred.

You are required to pay Property Transfer Tax unless you qualify for an exemption such as the First Time Home Buyers Program.

The Tax Rate:

The amount of tax due depends on the fair market value of the property that is transferred:

  • If the fair market value is $200,000 or less, the tax is 1% of the fair market value
  • If the fair market value is greater than $200,000, the tax is 1% of the fair market value up to $200,000, plus 2% on the portion of the fair market value that is greater than $200,000


Property Tax:

Municipal:

General property taxation is the single most important source of revenue for Local Governments.   Each year, Council must project the net amount of funds required through property taxes to support local services.  General municipal tax rates are set once the budget is approved. Property tax notices are mailed in mid-May for the calendar year of January 1 to December 31 with payment due July 1st. The general municipal tax rate, together with the assessed value and classification (property use – i.e. residential, commercial, industry, farm etc.) of the taxable property, determines the taxation for each property. 

Property taxes cannot be appealed. Only property assessments, on which taxes are based, are subject to appeal through the B.C. Assessment Authority. Therefore, it is important to review your annual assessment notice when you receive it from the B.C. Assessment Authority and report any concerns to them by January 31 of each year. Annual assessments notices from the B.C. Assessment Authority are mailed on December 31 for the subsequent year. In British Columbia, property assessments reflect market values effective July 1st of the preceding year. For a summary of how this is done check out the First Time Home Buyers Fact Sheet.

Rural:

Rural Property Tax applies to land outside cities, towns, districts and village boundaries in British Columbia. Rural property makes up 99.6% of British Columbia's land area.

You pay Rural Property Tax if you own land or occupy Crown Land outside a municipal boundary. Both the land and any improvements on it, including residences, manufactured homes, and commercial or industrial buildings are taxed.

Taxes are also billed and collected on behalf of local service areas, regional districts, improvement districts and other local government agencies with taxing authority.

Homeowners Grant:

The purpose of the home owner grant is to help reduce the amount of residential property tax British Columbians pay. The home owner grant applies to taxes paid by British Columbians to their municipality or to the Surveyor of Taxes for rural areas.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the home owner grant, you must be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant and ordinarily reside in British Columbia. This means you

  • have all or most of your personal belongings in B.C.
  • have (or are eligible for) B.C. medical insurance
  • have (or are eligible for) a B.C. driver's licence and are able to register vehicles in B.C.
  • file a B.C. income tax return
  • are entitled to vote in B.C.

You must be the owner or occupant of an eligible residence and live in it as your principal residence. You must qualify at the time you submit the signed application form.

Assuming a Mortgage:

It's important to note that in BC you are still required to qualify when assuming an existing mortgage just as you would if applying for a new mortgage.

GST:

If you purchase a newly constructed home, you may be subject to GST on the purchase price. There may be some rebates available depending on the value of the home. For further information visit the Service Canada site

Title Security:

British Columbia boasts one of the most progressive land title systems in the world. It is very efficient and very secure.  For further information visit BC Land Title & Survey online.

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