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How Do Property Taxes Work, And When Are They Due In 2011?

First, the easy part: your 2011 property taxes are due July 4, 2011. If your property is in the District of Sooke, you can pay in myriad different ways. There is a drop box for your cheque at municipal hall, or you can visit and pay in person. You can pay in person or online with most banks, or you can mail a cheque. If your property is in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (Otter Point, Shirley, Jordan River, Port Renfrew, or parts of East Sooke), your taxes are payable to the provincial Minister of Finance and can be paid in person at a Service BC office, dropped off at the Surveyor of Taxes in Victoria, or online or in person at most financial institutions.

Many home owners will have their taxes paid automatically by their mortgage lender. Lenders will estimate your taxes owing and you’ll pay, along with your mortgage payment, into a side account from which the taxes are paid every year. Lenders do this because they want to be sure the taxes are paid – property tax debt takes priority before mortgages should the borrower default!

However, even if your lender pays the taxes, you’ll want to apply for the Home Owner Grant. The Home Owner Grant is a yearly grant from the provincial government to help offset your property taxes. If you qualify, that’s $570 off your property taxes! You’re eligible for the grant if :

  • you are the owner (or spouse/relative of the deceased owner) of the property;
  • you are a permanent resident of British Columbia
  • you occupy the building on the tax notice as your principal residence
  • you have not applied for or received a home owner grant on any other property in the Province during the calendar year; and
  • no other person can have received a home owner grant on the property for the calendar year.

Most property owners in Sooke will qualify as long as it is their principal residence. The grant is less for properties over $1.15M in assessed value. There is also an additional grant for seniors and other groups.

The thing that confuses people the most is the timing of your taxes. Even though you pay your taxes on or about July 2 of every year, you’re paying for that whole calendar year (ie, January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011, not July 2, 2011 to July 2, 2012). Where this can come up is when you sell your house. People sometimes assume that if they sell their home in the spring, they’ve already paid their property taxes. Not true, because they haven’t been levied yet. When you sell your home, no matter what time of year, your lawyer or notary will have to adjust for the taxes on the statement of adjustments at closing.

For example, If you sold your home and it closed on March 31, 2011, the adjustment would be negative (a debit) to compensate the buyer for the time you occupied the house in 2011 (90 days) – since they will be responsible for paying the property taxes in July. If you sold your home and it closed on August 1, 2011, you would have already paid the taxes, so the adjustment would be positive (a credit) with the buyer compensating you for the time the buyer enjoys the house in 2011 (152 days).

Where does your tax money go? In the District of Sooke, it is interesting to note that only 42% of your tax bill funds municipal services directly. The rest is paid on your behalf to other taxing authorities, including BC Transit, Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Capital Regional District, schools, hospitals, and fire and police service. In the Juan de Fuca Electoral area, it depends on which unincorporated community you live in.

Some other Sooke property tax tidbits:

  • Sewer parcel tax is $515, included in the total payable taxes on your property tax notice, if you live within the sewer specified area.
  • Taxes in Sooke remain among the lowest in the Capital Regional District
  • The District of Sooke has a 5-year financial plan which it updates yearly

 

 

 

Sooke Parks in Profile: East Sooke Park

The Coast Trail in East Sooke Park

Welcome to a new series on What The Sooke?!: Sooke Parks In Profile. Sooke has some amazing parks – and I want to tell the world about it. From East Sooke to Port Renfrew, our region is dotted with pockets of green space and vast swaths of wilderness, and I’m sure there are even parks you never knew were there. This series is dedicated to profiling our region’s parks.

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CRD Agrees To Buy Sandcut Beach, Jordan River, Sooke Potholes Lands from WFP

Photo credit: sometimes_anna on Flickr

The Capital Regional District (CRD), along with non-profit The Land Conservancy (TLC) has agreed to buy up more than 2300 hectares (nearly 5700 acres) of land that was slated to go up for sale today. The land, belonging to Western Forest Products (WFP) has been the subject of much controversy in our area since the provincial government allowed WFP to remove its private lands from a tree-farm license (TFL) in 2007.

The lands being purchased include Sandcut Beach, the Jordan River surfing beach and townsite, and lands surrounding the Sooke River near Sooke Potholes Park.

While some of the land on the interior side of the highway may be sold off to help finance this purchase, most of it will be dedicated as park. One exciting feature of this deal is that the land acquired near the Potholes completes the Sea-to-Sea Green-Blue Belt, which, besides having the distinction of being the most awkwardly-named park reserve/network on the Island, will now stretch all the way from the Sooke Basin to Saanich Inlet.

The land deal is worth nearly $19 million, most of which is coming from the CRD’s parkland acquisition fund, and will be paid over 3 years. The rest of the money will come from TLC, and hopefully, the provincial government, who have been under fire since the land was released from the TFL three years ago. Many see it as an opportunity for the province to right a wrong that caused great controversy.

And speaking of the parkland acquisition fund… this is part of your yearly property taxes. Since it was established in 2000, it has been $10 per household per year, which has been well used in my opinion, protecting  nearly 3000 hectares of land at a value of nearly $31 million. Your contribution to the fund will be going up this year by $2, and will eventually rise to $20 per year, allowing the CRD to purchase lands such as the Jordan River WFP parcels for everyone’s use and enjoyment, forever. I’d happily pay $50 or even $100 per year to pad this fund and enable the special areas in our region to be protected. It’s a great example of taxpayer money going into something we all benefit from.

The deal is still tentative, but is slated to close in August. I’m looking forward to the CRD’s plan and longterm vision for these newly acquired lands.

What’s your take on this announcement? Good, bad, otherwise? State your opinion, but be nice to one another!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Ilkay Completes Purchase of Ex-TFL Land Near Jordan River

The Public Campsite At Jordan River, BC

The Public Campsite At Jordan River, BC

The Times Colonist reports that Vancouver-based developer Ender Ilkay has completed part of his desired purchase of ex-Western Forest Products tree farm license land near Jordan River. The parcel that Ilkay has bought is relatively small in relation to the entire 2500 hectares (nearly 6200 acres) that he has an option to purchase. At 250 hectares (nearly 620 acres), the purchase cost him $3 million and change, according to the report.

Interestingly, this particular parcel was not subject to the knee-jerk Capital Regional District down-zoning of private land to prevent Ilkay from developing around Jordan River. The purchased lands were already zoned with a minimum lot size of 120 hectares (nearly 300 acres).

Cleary, Ilkay loves the property and sees a potential future in it. He is land banking. In the future, as growth increases and the community mindset changes, Ilkay may be able to either sell off or develop the land to profit from it.

Smart move in my view, beats the stock market lately!

It will be interesting to see what happens with the court cases launched by Western Forest Products and the Association of BC Land Owners seeking to strike down the down-zoning by the CRD. It won’t affect his newly-purchased lands, but Ilkay may excercise his option to purchase the remaining land if the zoning is repealed.

If you have any questions about vacant land in the CRD or Sooke, or are thinking of selling your property, fill in my contact form or call me at 250-885-0512

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

Your comments are welcomed and encouraged!
Just use the form or link below this post.

You can bookmark this post using the button below,
or get free updates using the big buttons on the sidebar!

Screw The CRD and Sewage Treatment – Move To Sooke!

Taking a page from Ian Watt, I give my comments (while driving) about the CRD’s sewage treatment plans and about why you should move to Sooke and avoid all this mess!

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=0ofiEfFj2fQ">http://youtube.com/watch?v=0ofiEfFj2fQ</a>

The B.C. Government finally released their highly-anticipated sewage report, which states as expected by the CRD that resource recovery like heat and irrigation water should be a part of the Capital Region’s sewage treatment plan, mandated by the province some years ago. This potential boondoggle has wildly varying price tags with some estimates placing the project at over $1 billion. I’m glad I live in Sooke, where our core area sewer system has been in operation for a couple of years. Even with the $490/year sewage charge added to the property taxes, ours are still among the lowest on southern Vancouver Island. In addition to lower housing costs, the issue of sewage taxes is something to think about before you make your next move in the Capital Regional District.

Agree? Disagree? Your comments below, or e-mailed to Tim@TimAyres.ca


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