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B.C. seniors advocate urges those eligible to defer 2023 property taxes

The province is encouraging residents 55+ to use its deferral program amid rising living costs

B.C.’s seniors are being encouraged to consider deferring their 2023 property taxes amid rising costs of living and aging in the province.

Nearly half of the seniors in the province live on incomes that are below minimum wage, according to B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie.

The province’s property tax deferral program allows homeowners 55 years of age and older to defer some or all of their yearly property taxes. Once a request is granted, the province pays the tax to the government on behalf of the applicant, and any deferred taxes are used to repay the province upon selling the home.

In the last five years, the number of seniors in B.C. using food banks increased 78 per cent and 84 per cent of seniors reported that they have run out of money to buy food at times, according to a systemic review of conditions for British Columbia’s seniors conducted by Mackenzie last year.

READ MORE: B.C. seniors – and parents – skipping meals as ‘sticker shock’ from food inflation hits

Seniors who defer their taxes can save up to $500 per month—money that can go towards other essentials like medications or other personal necessities, Mackenzie said.

Should a homeowner choose to apply, the province said in a press release the best time to do so is after receiving a tax notice, but before the taxes are due to avoid incurring any late penalties.

The application to defer property tax can be found on the B.C. government website under ‘annual property tax forms.’