BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie is urging senior homeowners in the north to consider deferring their 2023 property taxes due to the rising cost of living.
The BC Property Tax Deferral Program allows those 55 and older to defer some or all of the cost and the province pays the tax to the local government.
The deferred taxes are then repaid to the provincial government when the home is sold.
Mackenzie told Vista Radio something like this can come in handy especially if property owners want to put their money towards renovations.
“The average property tax bill in Prince George is around $2600 or $2700 for the municipal portion and so that is like increasing your income by that much each year.”
“So, the basic idea is it makes it a little more affordable for you to stay in your own home, and the money that you are not paying in property taxes you can spend on someone to clean your gutters or do some of the maintenance work you used to do yourself.”
Mackenzie added by the time a senior homeowner is ready to sell it’s usually because they are moving to a congregate living arrangement or they have passed away.
In its latest Monitoring Seniors report, homeowners deferred a total of 307 million in property taxes in 2021/22.
Over the last five years, there has been a 49% decrease in the number of new users of the Property Tax Deferral Program.
84% of low-income seniors report running out of money to buy food some of the time.
In addition, there was a 78% increase in the use of food banks by B.C. seniors over the last five years.