We’re hearing a lot about the province’s property tax deferral program, but what you may not know is it comes at a hefty price.
The provincial government is currently spending $131 million to cover people’s property tax bills.
How it works? Anyone 55 or older can apply to defer their property taxes at a simple interest rate of less than one percent until the property is sold.
Vancouver Point Grey NDP MLA David Eby questions if it’s achieving what it was intended for.
“I think it is a huge waste of money to allow millionaires to defer their property taxes through this program and to have the public subsidize that deferment. So certainly a means test is one of the ways to address that issue, but there is a huge number of people depending on this program to stay in their houses, simply this issue is deeper than putting in a means test.”
Eby says it may be time to sit down and reassess the program.
“Did anyone ever imagine that there would be more than $100 million in deferred property taxes? The cost of this program must be going through the roof. Is it achieving what was intended? And is it responsive to the crisis that we are facing in the 2016 real estate market?”
A Finance Ministry spokesperson says 38,000 homeowners are taking advantage of the program, with the average in deferred taxes about $3,000 a year per household.