General property taxation is the single most important source of revenue for Local Governments. Each year, Council must estimate the amount of funds required to support local services. General municipal tax rates are set once the budget is approved. Property tax notices are mailed in mid-May for the calendar year of January 1 to December 31. The general municipal tax rate, together with the assessed value and classification (property use - i.e. residential, commercial, industry, farm etc.) of the taxable property, determines the taxation for each property.
Property Tax Prepayment Plan
If your property taxes are not paid by a Mortgagor, the Town of Smithers has a Property Tax Prepayment Plan, which you may participate in.
Property taxes cannot be appealed. Only property assessments, on which taxes are based, are subject to appeal through the B.C. Assessment Authority. Therefore, it is important to review your annual assessment notice when you receive it from the B.C. Assessment Authority and report any concerns to them by January 31st of each year. Annual assessments notices from the B.C. Assessment Authority are mailed on December 31st for the subsequent year. In British Columbia, property assessments reflect market values effective July 1st of the preceding year. Follow the links to the BC Assessment website for more information on property valuation and appeal deadlines.
British Columbia Assessment Authority - Northwest Region
100 4545 Lazelle Avenue
Terrace BC V8G 4E1
Toll Free: 1-800-990-1116
If you are expecting a decrease in your assessment, it is likely that your total taxes payable will decrease too. The amount on the original property tax notice remains due and payable by the tax due date (usually July 2nd). If you have not paid your property taxes that are payable by the tax due date (as indicated on the original property tax notice), a penalty may apply to any unpaid tax amount if the amended assessment is not received by the Town of Smithers before the tax due date.
For more information, go to Financial Services.
Property Taxes Paid by a Mortgagor
Many property owners choose to have their property taxes paid by their mortgage company or financial institution (the Mortgagor). When property owners make their mortgage payments, the Mortgagor allocates a portion of each total mortgage payment to a property tax account held by the Mortgagor. This type of a mortgage is referred to as a ‘Principal, Interest, and Taxes' mortgage (P.I.T. mortgage). P.I.T. mortgages allocate a portion of each payment towards Principal, Interest, and Property Taxes (P.I.T.). The portion of the mortgage payment that is allocated to property taxes accumulates and is forwarded to the Town of Smithers, by the Mortgagor, when property taxes are due (usually July 2nd).
If your taxes are being remitted by a mortgage company or financial institution, you will still receive a property tax notice from the Town of Smithers. The Town of Smithers mails to each Mortgagor a listing of all known properties to which this Mortgagor remits property taxes on behalf of. It is between you and your Mortgagor to ensure the correct property taxes are paid to the Town of Smithers taking into consideration your eligibility of the Provincial Home Owner Grant. You are not required to take your property tax notice to your Mortgagor - they will already have been advised of the property taxes outstanding on your property.
Note: The Mortgagor must advise the Town of Smithers that they require annual property tax information on your property. As a precaution, it is recommended that if you have a new mortgage that you take a copy of your property tax notice to your Mortgage holder to ensure that they are remitting property taxes on your behalf.
Home Owner Grants
Annual Tax Sale
Any property with taxes unpaid at the end of three years will be sold at the Town of Smithers' annual tax sale. Pursuant to the Local Government Act, the Town of Smithers must hold an annual tax sale each year on the last Monday of September (or if this is a holiday, on the next Monday which is not a holiday). The tax sale is held at 10:00am at the Town of Smithers Council Chambers.
The list of properties that may be available for sale will be published in the local newspapers on two separate dates, the last publishing being not less than 3 days or more than 10 days before the date of the tax sale. A final list of the properties still available for sale will be distributed at the time of the tax sale.
The sale is a public auction with the successful bid being the highest bid above the upset price. The upset price is:
- The amount of delinquent taxes, taxes in arrears and interest to the first day of the tax sale for which the parcel of land and the improvements are liable for sale;
- The taxes, including penalties incurred, for the current year on the land and improvements;
- 5% of the amounts under paragraph (a) and (b); and
- The fees prescribed under the Land Title Act.
If there are no bids, the Town of Smithers will be declared the purchaser.
The Town of Smithers requires payment at the time of sale. If this payment is by cheque it must be replaced by cash, certified cheque or money order before 10:00 am of the following morning. If this requirement is not met the tax sale proceedings will be reconvene at 10:00 am on this day and the property will be re-auctioned.
The owner of the property and the owner of a registered charge will be notified of the pending tax sale of the property. Should a property be sold at tax sale, the registered owner, the owner of a registered charge or agents thereof, has twelve (12) months to redeem the property by remitting to the Town of Smithers the aggregate of the following:
- The selling price of the property at the time of the tax sale;
- All costs of which, the Collector has had notice that have been incurred by the purchaser in maintenance of the property and in prevention of waste;
- Taxes advanced by the purchaser; and
- Interest to the date of redemption on any amount in excess of the upset price and on the total amount expended by the purchaser during the period for redemption, at the rate prescribed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council (Province of British Columbia) pursuant to Section 11 (3) of the Taxation (Rural Area) Act.
Should the property not be redeemed within the one-year period, the title shall transfer to the successful bidder. If the property is redeemed, all of the amounts paid to the Town of Smithers, by the successful bidder will be returned with interest at the rate prescribed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council (Province of British Columbia) pursuant to Section 11(3) of the Taxation (Rural Area) Act.
The successful bidder has only limited legal rights to the property during the redemption period. The registered owner continues to have use and enjoyment of the property.
The successful purchaser of a tax sale property that results in transfer of title at the end of the redemption period will be required to pay any property purchase taxes; and goods and service taxes which may apply to the sale.
What are delinquent taxes?
On December 31st of each year - taxes, interest and penalties unpaid for the current year are transferred to arrears taxes. The previous years' taxes plus interest and penalties are transferred to delinquent taxes.
Taxes accrued and to accrue on land and its improvements, are a special charge on the land and improvements, and have priority over any claim, lien, privilege or encumbrance of any person except the Crown, and do not require registration to preserve it.
What interest rate is charged on arrears and delinquent taxes?
Arrears and delinquent taxes bear interest as prescribed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council (Province of British Columbia) pursuant to Section 11(3) of the Taxation (Rural Area) Act until paid or recovered.
How will I be advised if my property is subject to Tax Sale?
Property owners and registered charge holders will be advised by registered mail in August of each year that their property is subject to the tax sale proceedings. The registered letter will outline the outstanding taxes and interest to date and amount required to avoid tax sale. This amount must be paid in full prior to the last Monday of September in each year. Any payment made within fifteen (15) days of the tax sale date must be either cash, money order, bank draft or by debit card.
Selling your Property
If you sell your property, the lawyer or notary handling the sale will allocate the property taxes between purchaser and vendor. The Town of Smithers property taxes are for a calendar year (January to December). If you have already paid the full year's property taxes on your property, but sell it partway through the year, the lawyer or notary will charge the purchasers for their portion of the property taxes and utilities, and credit them back to you. In essence, the lawyer or notary determines the amount of time that the purchaser and vendor owned the property, and then allocates the property taxes and utilities accordingly between the two parties.
Manufactured (mobile) home sales must be registered with the Manufactured Home Registry office in order for the sale to be valid. You may get additional information on sales regarding manufactured (mobile) homes from:
Corporate and Personal Property Registries
PO Box 9431
Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9V3
Note: Property taxes on manufactured (mobile) homes must be paid in full before they can be moved.