Property Tax Q&A's

2020-2024 Financial Plan Quick Facts (pdf)

2020-2024 Financial Plan (pdf)

Where can I pay my taxes in person?

The Service and Resource Centre is currently closed to the public. For those wishing to pay property taxes in person, a pop-up tax payment office is located at the Frank Crane Arena box office in Beban Park (2300 Bowen Road). The office is open 9 am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday.

As part of our COVID-19 safety protocols, we are not accepting cash payments. We are accepting debit and cheque payments. For the safety of everyone, physical distancing measures will be in place and anyone who does not feel well should stay home. Please fill out your Home Owner Grant application ahead of time.

What are other ways I can pay my taxes?

You can pay your property taxes using one of the following methods:

  • Through your financial institution - online, telephone or in-person banking.
  • Drop off a cheque payment in the drop box located outside the Service and Resource Centre (411 Dunsmuir Street). As part of our COVID-19 safety protocols, we are not accepting cash payments.
  • Mail a cheque payment using the postage-paid return envelope included in the tax notice package. As part of our COVID-19 safety protocols, we are not accepting cash payments.

Don’t forget to claim your Home Owner Grant. Find more information and the application on the Home Owner Grant page on the City website.

Why is the City issuing property tax notices in a time when so many residents are struggling financially from the COVID-19 pandemic?

The City’s greatest source of revenue comes from property taxes. Your taxes pay for the many services you benefit from as a citizen of the City of Nanaimo such as paved roads, police, fire rescue, parks and recreation centres. You tax dollars also ensure we have the cash flow to pay the businesses we rely on for supplies and infrastructure projects, pay staff and pay the taxes we collect for other governments such as the Regional District of Nanaimo. 

You may be able to reduce your tax bill by applying for the Home Owner Grant program. This Provincial program is available to Canadian citizens or permanent residents who live in BC. You must apply for the grant every year to receive it. It can only be applied to your principle residence.

You may also qualify to defer your taxes for this year. Find more information at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/TaxDeferment.

When is my property tax payment due?

July 2, 2020. To provide some relief to those financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the late payment penalty date has been extended to October 1, 2020.

How do I apply for a Home Owner Grant?

You can apply online at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/HOG or download and print an application from the Government of BC’s website; complete it and

  • bring it to the pop-up tax office in Frank Crane Arena when you pay your taxes,
  • Mail it in, or
  • Drop it off in the drop box located outside the Service and Resource Centre (411 Dunsmuir Street)

You must apply each year to receive this grant.

You can find more information on the Home Own Grant information page on the City website.

I forgot to claim my Home Owner Grant last year; can I still claim it?

If you have forgotten to claim your 2019 Home Owner Grant and you were eligible to claim one, you have until December 31, 2020 to claim it retroactively.

After the Home Owner Grant Administration office in Victoria approves your grant application, the following will occur:

  • If your Property Tax account is paid in full on the day the Retroactive Home Owner Grant application is finalized at the City’s Property Tax Division, the City will instruct the Home Owner Grant Office in Victoria to forward the refund directly to you
  • If your Property Tax account has an outstanding balance, the Home Owner Grant Office in Victoria will forward the funds directly to the City to be applied to the Property Tax account

Visit the Province's website for more information regarding the Retroactive Home Owners Grant or contact the Home Owner Grant Administration office at 1-888-355-2700.  All applications are subject to approval from the Home Owner Grant Administration Office in Victoria.

What is tax deferment?

If you are eligible, you can defer your property taxes. This provincial program provides low-interest loans to qualified homeowners to pay their property taxes.

Two options are available:

  • Regular program: you are 55 or older, widowed or a person with disabilities.
  • Families with Children program: you are a parent, stepparent or financially supporting a child.

In order to defer, any overdue property taxes from previous years, outstanding penalties and interest charges must be paid and you must have enough equity in your home - 25% for the Regular program and 15% for the Families with Children program.

If your application is approved, the Province of BC will pay your 2020 property taxes on your behalf. Interest is charged on tax deferment loans - 1.95% for the Regular program and 3.95% for the Families with Children program.

Deferred taxes and interest are paid when your home is sold or transferred. Deferment is only available on primary residences; cottages and rental properties do not qualify.

To apply you will need your annual property tax notice, Social Insurance Number, date of birth and any supporting documentation if necessary.

NEW FOR 2020: The Province has created an online system for processing new deferment applications and renewals. This means the City no longer accepts deferment applications. 

Find more information and links to the Province’s Tax Deferment program and online application system at: www.nanaimo.ca/goto/TaxDeferment.

How are my taxes used?

The taxes you pay to the City of Nanaimo go toward municipal services, projects and programs such as paved roads, recreation centres, parks, police and fire services. Also, one per cent goes towards an increase in funding for the general asset management reserve.

Each property tax bill helps pay for the important City services and initiatives that make Nanaimo a community that is livable, environmentally sustainable and full of opportunity for all generations and walks of life.

Why doesn’t the City of Nanaimo tie tax increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the rate of inflation?

The CPI measures the change in a specific group of goods and services over time. However, municipalities purchase a significantly different range of goods and services than the average Canadian consumer; this means the CPI is not an adequate measure of the inflationary pressures municipalities face. Canada currently does not have a Municipal Price Index (MPI) to measure the effects of inflation for providing municipal services.

If CPI was applied to the City’s budget, it could result in insufficient budgets to maintain existing levels of services or allow for enhancements to service levels. That said, the City of Nanaimo, does apply the inflation rate to goods and services when better estimates are not available during the budget planning process.

What are some highlights of the 2020 Budget?

The budget includes a number of initiatives to support our Council priorities and enhance service levels:

Investing in Our Community: through funding for new amenities including construction of the Harewood Youth Park, installation of LED outfield lights at Serauxmen Stadium, the multi-year replacement project for Fire Station #1 and the Metral Drive Complete Street project.

Enhancing Public and Community Safety: with the addition of three RCMP officers (15 over the next five years) and two Prisoner Guards; an increase to the Bylaw Enforcement Officer schedule from 35 hours to 40 hours per week and an additional $50,000 funding toward victims services.

Strengthening Nanaimo’s Economy: through the implementation of an external Economic Development function and with the addition of a Manager of Economic Development Services.

Supporting Good Governance and Effective Service Delivery: with the addition of a Deputy City Clerk, Urban Forestry Technician, Traffic Signal Technician and Director of IT; review and update to the Official Community Plan and Nanaimo’s Community Sustainability Action Plan.

What’s the tax and user fee breakdown?

The City is responsible for a budget of over $200 million and maintaining over $3 billion in infrastructure assets such as roads, water mains, facilities, drainage, parks and the sewer system.

On December 16, 2019, the City set the 2020 water, sewer and garbage collection rates to support operations and long-term asset management requirements as outlined in the City's 2020-2024 Financial Plan.

Revenues collected through these increases assist the City in paying for costs incurred during the long-term replacement of fixed assets, including water supply and distribution and sanitary sewer assets.

Highlights of the plan include projected increases in:

  • Property tax of 4.5%, equivalent to $95 for a typical household with an assessed value of $527,145
  • Water user fees of 7.5%, equivalent to $42
  • Sewer user fees of 4.0%, equivalent to $6
  • Solid waste user fees of 0.6%, equivalent to $1
  • This equals to an annual increase of $144 or roughly $12 per month in taxes and fees for a typical household.

What is the relationship between my property assessment from BC Assessment and my property tax bill?

A significant increase in your assessment does not necessarily mean a significant increase in your property taxes. The important factor is how your assessed value changed relative to the average change for your property class.

For example:

A single family residence in the City of Nanaimo went up average of 1.69%.

  • If your property increased in value greater than the market change of 1.69%, you will likely see an increase in your municipal taxes of greater than 4.5%
  • If you property increased in value was equal to the market change of 1.69% than you municipal taxes will likely increase at the average of 4.5%
  • If your property increased in value less than the market change of 1.69% you will likely see an increase in your municipal taxes of less than 4.5%

Last updated: May 29, 2020

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