The following list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) is meant to provide answers to commonly asked questions. For more information, please contact the Finance Department.
How do I pay my property taxes?
On-line or Telephone Banking:
You can pay your property taxes and utilities using on-line or telephone banking services through your Financial Institution. For taxes, you will need your 11 digit roll number (including the 337 jurisdiction number with no spaces or punctuation) to set up the District of Sparwood as an entity to make a payment. For utilities, you will need your full account number (no spaces or punctuation) to set up the District of Sparwood as an entity to make a payment. When searching for payee on your bank’s website enter “Sparwood”. Please be sure to allow sufficient time for your payment to be processed so that the District receives your payment by the due date. Please contact your financial institution for more information.
Post Dated Cheque:
You can pay your taxes with a cheque post dated to the tax due date. The payment is not cashed at your bank until the date of the cheque. Cheques must be received by the tax due date in order to avoid the 10% penalty. Post marks on envelopes are not acceptable. Post dated cheques should be identified in some way (highlight the date) so that they are not inadvertently processed as a current item.
Payment Drop Box:
The drop box located at the main entrance of the District office located at 136 Spruce Avenue. Place your cheque and/or Home Owner Grant in an envelope. Please do not put cash in the mailbox.
You can pay taxes and utilities by cash, cheque (payable to “District of Sparwood”) or debit card (Interac) at the District Office located at 136 Spruce Avenue.
You can pay taxes and utilities by cheque (made payable to “District of Sparwood”) mailed to the District of Sparwood, Box 520, Sparwood, BC, V0B 2G0. Post marks on envelopes are not acceptable so please allow time for delivery.
Note for Property Tax Payments:
If you cannot pay your entire account by the due date, you should claim the homeowner grant (if eligible). Until the Home Owner Grant is claimed, that portion of the balance of your tax account is considered taxes outstanding.
If you have any questions please contact the District Office by phone 250-425-6271 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I did not receive a tax notice, do I still owe taxes?
Yes. If you own property, you are responsible for the taxes, whether or not you receive a tax notice. You should notify the Finance Department if you own or have purchased property and have not received a tax notice by email at email@example.com.
Please notify us if you have changed your mailing address.
Can I appeal my taxes?
No. You can only appeal the assessment of your property. The BC Assessment office mails your assessment notice December 31st and you have 30 days in which to appeal your assessment at their office.
What is the Home Owner Grant and am I eligible?
The Home Owner Grant is provided by the British Columbia Government to owners who occupy their residential property. The grant must be claimed each year if the property owner is eligible. Your annual Tax Notice has the Home Owner Grant Application form attached. The grant cannot be claimed on vacant land or when the property is registered to a company.
Also, note that even if you cannot pay your taxes by the July 4th deadline, you should claim the grant, if eligible, before the deadline because the 10% penalty is calculated on the total amount of current taxes owing.
You can claim your grant by submitting your completed application by:
Drop Box or In Person: at the District Office located at 136 Spruce Avenue;
If I live in a home for part of the year, can I claim part of the Home Owners Grant?
No. Home Owners Grants cannot be apportioned. An applicant must qualify for either all or none of the grant.
How are taxes calculated?
The formula for calculating taxes on property is tax rate times assessed value. The BC Community Charter sets out in detail the regulations for property taxation. The amount of money to be raised through taxation is set by Council through the budget process. Council adopts a Property Tax Rate Bylaw by May 15th each year. A letter from the Mayor is included with your tax notice outlining how your tax dollars are being spent is included in your tax notice.
What is the penalty for late payment?
Under the BC Community Charter, a municipality must charge a 10% penalty on late taxes, which is also applicable to the unclaimed Home Owner Grant portion of your taxes. Until the Home Owner Grant is claimed, that portion of the balance of your tax account is considered taxes outstanding. District has no authority to either waive or modify these penalty amounts. A payment that is one day late is subject to the same penalty as a payment of taxes one month after the due date.
When are property taxes due?
Property taxes are due by July 4th every year (or if the 4th falls on a weekend, they are due the following business day). Payments and properly completed application for the Home Owner Grant (HOG) must be received by the Property Tax Due Date, without exception. It is not necessary to make payment in order to apply for the HOG.
What is included on my annual Tax Notice?
Your annual Tax Notice includes ALL property taxes - those imposed by the District and those imposed by other governing jurisdictions. The District collects taxes on behalf of others as follows: School Taxes, Hospital, RDEK, BC Assessment, MFA, Elk Valley Waste Management and Police. These tax levies are not set by the District of Sparwood but are collected by the District on behalf of those governing jurisdictions. This is more efficient and economical than each of these tax authorities sending individual tax notices. Council sets the rates for District taxes only.
What is the provincial tax deferment program?
Home owners who are over 55 or disabled and have difficulty paying their taxes may be eligible for a provincial tax deferment program. There is also a deferment program designed for persons in financial difficulty and for families raising children. Please see the Ministry website at http://www.sbr.gov.bc.ca or feel free to contact the District if you have any questions regarding your eligibility.
What happens if I don't pay my property taxes for 3 years?
Division 7 in Part 16 of the Local Government Act requires the District to sell at tax sale all properties whose taxes are in a delinquent balance, which reflects three years of unpaid taxes.
Properties which may be included in the annual tax sale will be listed in the local newspaper (Free Press and the Elk Valley Herald) the week preceding the tax sale. If the delinquent taxes are paid before 10:00 am on the tax sale day, they will be removed from the list of properties.
How can I avoid a tax sale?
Pay your property taxes and claim your home owner grant (if eligible) by the due date.
Pay your delinquent taxes by September 2 to avoid your property from being listed in the newspaper.
Pay your delinquent taxes, including interest, by mid-September to stop your property from going to tax sale.
How is my property assessment calculated?
Your property assessment is calculated by BC Assessment, a provincial crown corporation that classifies and values properties throughout BC.
While municipal governments don't control these assessments, we use the valuations to calculate the amount of property tax payable for each property, as required by law. Residential taxes are based on the total average assessed value for all residential properties in the District.
How do property assessment increases impact my property taxes?
There are a number of factors that can affect your property assessment. Renovating your home, for instance, can lead to an increase in value. Sales of properties in your neighbourhood can also lead to an increase, as BC Assessment uses market data to determine property value.
An increase in your property's assessed value does not mean you will see a corresponding increase in your property taxes.