Many Prince Rupert residents may not be aware they have not applied for the Homeowners Grant when they have paid their recent property tax installment online. Some residents are missing the section to apply, Corrine Bomben, chief financial officer for the City of Prince Rupert told Council at the meeting on June 22.
Homeowners have been encouraged and provided instructions to pay their property tax bills online or through their financial institutions during the pandemic because City Hall practices have been amended to minimize the need for payors to attend in person.
“Normally, people who would come to City Hall would be prompted by our customer service staff to fill out the application found at the bottom of their tax notice. Given that people are now paying a different way, and there’s no one prompting a homeowner to fill in the application,” Bomben said. “It is easy to understand why the step is being missed.”
“We are taking this opportunity to communicate how residents can claim their homeowner grant before the due date of July 2.”
Bomben presented an on screen slide show at the meeting explaining step by step for viewers how to make the tax payment and apply online. The council meeting was broadcast on community television for residents to watch.
“Staff are reaching out to those identified with the Homeowner Grant balance still listed as outstanding for this year, but we hope this presentation will help to educate many who are about to make their payment,” Bomben said.
The Homeowner Grant is not the same as the first time home buyers program Bomben said, which applies when someone buys their first home. The Homeowners Grant is available annually on a homeowners principal residence. The funding is then applied against a homeowners property tax.
“Applications must be received before July 2 of this year, otherwise a provincial penalty of 10% is applied to the unclaimed amount. This is a penalty that administration and council are not authorized to waive,” Bomben said.
“If an individual is over 65, has a disability, is a veteran, they may qualify for an increased grant amount.”
Residents who qualify can fill in the bottom part of the property tax bill and drop it in the City Hall mail slot, which is located on the same side of the building as the Charles Hays statue.
Bomben reminded residents that if they are planning to mail from within Prince Rupert, it is likely just as easy to drop it off at City Hall.
“Please note, if you’re having trouble claiming your homeowners grant online and are using a mobile phone or tablet, please try using a desktop or laptop instead,” Bomben said.
The information needed for an online application is the roll number and access code. These are located at the top of the property tax notice.
“If you’re not certain that your application has been received, you can confirm with staff at 250-627-0960,” Bomben said. “If you do not reach someone immediately they are on the line with another caller. Please leave a name and phone number and they will return your call as soon as they are able.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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