This year’s massive spike in property assessments has many across the province worrying about how they’ll make ends meet when the tax bill arrives.
Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to pay them?
Well, it turns out you don’t. At least right away, and for a modest fee.
That’s the message Vancouver developer Michael Geller took to Twitter this week, in a bid to shine light on the province’s tax deferment program.
Geller says he’s deferring his taxes, and he says at the rates being offered, he’d be crazy not to.
“Where can I borrow money at less than one percent, in my case to invest – but in other instances to travel, to enjoy life?”
It works like this – if you’re over 55, have a deceased spouse, or are a designated person with disabilities you can defer your taxes. The province pays them for you, and you’re charged an interest rate of 0.85%. If you’re under 55, the rate is 2.85%.
Geller says he’s been doing it for the last six years, and it’s left him with $60,000 to play with.
Rich getting richer?
“I think the government has ill conceived this program.”
But Geller says while he’s happy to use the program to legally lower his tax bill, he thinks the wrong people may be benefiting from it.
“Ironically, it’s people like me that have financial advisers or hang out at the club and discuss this in the locker room who are taking advantage of the program.”
That money is then free to invest, often producing a much better rate of return.
Geller says he doesn’t think the program should be scrapped. Just rethought.
He says for people who actually need the program, it is both worthwhile and functional – and probably under used.
Instead, he says the province should be income testing people who apply for it to ensure they’re actually in need.