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General News · 10th September 2018
De Clarke
As discussion of our (approximately $85/year?) potential Hall Support Tax continues, I've heard more than once this anecdotal (never specifically attested) argument against the proposed levy: the case of the elderly pensioners who bought long ago when land was cheap, and today occupy a property with high market value - yet their income and savings are slender, and have not increased, while land value and taxes have risen significantly.

They are, as the saying goes, "land rich and dollar poor." People in this position, so the argument goes, are at risk of slipping into poverty and hunger if taxes rise even by a few dollars a month.

It seems pretty convincing - unless you know that in the Province of BC we have a humane accommodation for people in this situation: it's called Property Tax Deferment, and it's described fully here:

The gist is this: if property owners - whether a senior, a person with disabilities, or a family with children - find themselves in financial straits dire enough to make property tax payment impossible or very painful, they can apply to the Province for an amnesty from taxation in exchange for granting the Province a lien on the property.

Essentially the Province is willing to make a loan to the taxpayer, in the form of a tax amnesty, secured by collateral in the form of equity in the property.
In the case of a senior, when properties have appreciated drastically during that person's lifetime, it's almost certain that their heirs will be able to pay off the accumulated tax debt easily by selling the property after the elder's demise.

BC government does not require or expect low-income seniors, or other people with marginal financial resources, to go hungry in order to pay their property tax. This program was instituted to make an exception and accommodation for exactly these cases of hardship and precarity. It appears that some folks on Cortes are not aware of this program; I hope that those eligible for it and in need of it will follow the link and apply ASAP.
high brows
Comment by Wendy L. on 11th September 2018
I'd really like for individuals to stop telling me/us what I can afford.
Please curtail the assumptions about other people's financial situations by speculating on how and what we can or should be able to afford.
Comment by Tom Bohart on 11th September 2018
The interest is charged on the accumulated total each year, so I think that is compound interest. There's also a ten dollar a year administration fee. still not a bad deal, but ask me again in twenty years.
Some CIFFA Numbers
Comment by Bob Osleeb (CIFFA Treasurer) on 11th September 2018
Hi De,

The Cortes Island Fire Fighting Association is requesting $45,000, the first year, to implement the First Responder Program and $25,000 thereafter to sustain the program.

As a parcel tax this should amount to about $50 the first year and $30 thereafter. Some would pay a little less and some would pay a little more if the tax was based on the mill rate.
Not compound interest
Comment by Don on 11th September 2018
If you do a quick check on the interest charged, it’s 1.2%, and it’s simple, not compound interest.
Deferred property tax IS expensive
Comment by Jack Wills on 11th September 2018
Deferring property tax also requires fire insurance which in many cases is nearly impossible to get, and exceeds the cost of the taxes in the first place. It is not as simple as many think.
First hand experience
Interest Rate on Property Tax Deferment
Comment by Frances Guthrie on 11th September 2018
There's an interest calculator online:

The interest rate (it's simple interest) for 2018 for the regular tax deferment program is 1.2%
Property Tax Deferment an Expensive Solution
Comment by Carol Lewis on 10th September 2018
I've been told that the compounding interest that occurs with property tax deferment eats into the value of the property to such an extensive degree that, ultimately, if the owners live long enough, the government effectively owns the property. Can someone please verify if this is correct as I am only passing along what I heard from a savvy senior who explained why he would never apply for this.