Lowering Property Tax

Lowering Your Property Tax Bill

June 2015

I just received my assessment in the mail. The assessed value of our home in Beausejour has increased, which means property taxes will also be going up. Every year after receiving my assessment I can’t help but have a few discussions about property taxes. This year I spoke with a number of accountants, I was surprised to learn that in their opinion many folks either weren’t claiming the Seniors’ School Tax Rebate or were misinformed and missed the deadline. The rebate is an easy way to lower your property tax bill; however it was only introduced in 2014 so I can understand the confusion.

2014 was the first year that seniors were allowed to claim the Seniors’ School Tax Rebate. The savings from this rebate are in addition to the Education Property Tax Credits. In 2014 the rebate was up to $235, in 2015 it was increased to a maximum of $470.  The provincial government has stated that it intends to increase the rebate again in 2016. The goal is that after the 2016 increase the combination of the Education Property Tax Credit and the Seniors’ School Tax Rebate will eliminate school taxes for seniors.

To qualify you or your spouse or common law partner must be 65 years of age or older by the end of the calendar year. You must live in Manitoba and own your home. Unfortunately the rebate is not automatic; you must apply for the rebate. The deadline for your application is March 31 of the following year. For example to receive the school tax rebate for 2015 you will have to submit your application by March 31, 2016. If you applied in 2014 you should automatically receive your 2015 application within a few days of getting your municipal tax statement.  If you did not apply in 2014, you can get an application from the Manitoba Tax Assistance Office or you can apply online - there is a link on the Government of Manitoba’s Finance website (www.gov.mb.ca/finance).

It is important to note that the rebate does need to be reported on your income tax return. So be sure to let your accountant know when you receive the rebate.

Claiming the Seniors’ School Tax Rebate is a simply way for seniors to lower their property tax bill and put a few extra dollars in their pocket. I encourage everyone that qualifies to claim the rebate.

Clinton Orr B.Comm (hons.), CIM, CFP, DMS, FMA  lives in Beausejour and is a portfolio manager with National Bank Financial.

 

This information transmitted is intended to provide general guidance on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader who accepts full responsibility for its use, and is not to be considered a definitive analysis of the law and factual situation of any particular individual or entity.  As such, it should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a professional accounting, tax, legal or other professional advisor. This commentary reflects my opinions alone, and may not reflect the views of National Bank Financial Group.