Seniors Property Tax Deferral Frequently Asked Questions

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1 Seniors Property Tax Deferral Frequently Asked Questions Eligibility Who is eligible for this program? Eligibility is not based on your income. To qualify, you must: be 65 years of age or older; be an Alberta resident; own a residential property in Alberta; and have a minimum of 25% home equity. I live with my spouse, do we both have to be 65 to qualify? No, only one person has to be 65. I own two properties, can I apply for loans on both? No, you can only apply for a deferral on your primary residence. I live in a manufactured/mobile home, can I apply? Yes, as long as you own the land the home is on. I live on a farm, can I apply? Yes, but the loan will only cover the residential portion of the farmland. I live in a condo and have a parking stall. Can I defer the property taxes on my condo and parking stall? No, only the condo (your primary residential property) is eligible. I have a commercial property and live upstairs in the same building, can I apply? Yes, but the loan will cover only the residential portion of your property taxes. The commercial portion will not be covered. I am not a senior, but my senior parents are living with me. Can I apply? Only your parents can apply, and at least one parent must be a registered owner on the property title and meet the eligibility requirements.

2 Can I apply if I owe money from previous tax years (arrears)? Yes, the program will cover any amount of arrears or existing penalties listed on your property tax notice. They will be added to the amount of your loan. Is there any limit to the amount arrears the program will cover? No, the program covers any amount of arrears or penalties you may have accrued in previous years. Can I apply if I pay my property taxes monthly? Yes, the amount you have already paid for the current tax year will become a credit that you can request back from your municipality. Can I apply if I have already paid my property taxes for the current property tax year? Yes, the amount you paid will become a credit that you can request back from your municipality. How often will you review my eligibility? We will review your eligibility yearly to ensure you still qualify. This will include a home-equity check. Why do I need to have a minimum of 25% equity? The minimum equity requirement allows the Alberta government to secure the loan, and ensure repayment when the loan is due. What happens if I no longer meet the eligibility requirements? If you become ineligible (e.g., you sell the home), your loan will become due. Applying Where can I get an application? Applications are available at several locations: Download and from From your local ATB Financial branch; or By calling the Alberta Supports Call Centre line at ( in Edmonton). Frequently Asked Questions 2

3 When is the application deadline? Applications must be received at least 30 days before your residential property taxes are due to your municipality. This gives us enough time to process your application and pay your property taxes to the municipality on your behalf. Example: If your property taxes are due on June 30, we must receive your application by no later than May 31. What happens if I apply late? Applications received less than 30 days before the municipal property tax deadline may not be processed in time to avoid municipal penalties for late payment. Such penalties are the applicant s responsibility, and can be paid directly to the municipality or added to the loan. My municipal tax deadline is 10 days away. Can I avoid late penalties? Yes, pay your property taxes directly to the municipality, and if your application for a seniors property tax deferral loan is approved, you can request a credit from the municipality for the amount you paid. Where do I submit my application? Mail your completed application to: Seniors Property Tax Deferral Program PO Box 1200 Edmonton, Alberta T5J 2M4 Do I have to apply every year? No, you can apply to defer your taxes for up to ten years without having to submit an annual application. I need help with my application, what should I do? For assistance, call the Alberta Supports Contact Line at ( in Edmonton). I pay my property taxes on a monthly basis, will I be able to defer all of my 2013 property taxes? Yes, you will receive a credit from your municipality for the amount you have already paid. Please note that it is your responsibility to cancel your monthly property tax payments. Frequently Asked Questions 3

4 If I apply to the Seniors Property Tax Deferral Program, can I still qualify for the Education Property Tax (EPT) program? Yes, the Education Property Tax program will be available to eligible seniors until the end of this year (December 31, 2013). Please note that this program is now being income tested. For details, visit or call the Alberta Supports Contact Line at ( in Edmonton). If I register for a seniors property tax deferral loan, will I get a cheque or will money be deposited in my account? No, the Alberta government will pay your taxes directly to your municipality on your behalf. When an application is accepted, why is a caveat registered against the property? This is a standard practice for securing loans (similar to mortgages). Registration of a caveat will be for the amount of the property tax deferral loan and interest. Interest charges What is the interest rate? The current interest rate for the Seniors Property Tax Deferral Program is posted on the Alberta Health website at The rate is reviewed and may be adjusted every 6 months in April and October. How much interest will I be charged? You can estimate your interest charges by using the calculator at The Seniors Property Tax Deferral Program charges simple (rather than compound) interest. What is simple interest? Simple interest is charged on the original amount of your loan (the principal). It s different than compound interest, which is charged to the principal plus interest. Why are you charging interest? The intent of charging interest is strictly to recover the costs of operating this program and providing the loans. Loan repayment Frequently Asked Questions 4

5 Will I receive statements? Yes, you will receive statements with your loan balance from ATB Financial twice a year, in April and October. When do I have to repay the loan? You can choose to repay the loan at any time, but it will automatically become due when: you sell your home; you are no longer a registered owner; or the home is no longer your primary residence. What happens if I pass away? If you pass and there is no surviving spouse, the loan automatically becomes due and will be repaid through your estate when the home is sold. If I pass away and my spouse is not a senior, what happens to the loan? If your spouse or partner is 55 or older, and the home is his or her primary residence, the loan will continue, and he or she can apply for future loans. If your spouse or partner is under 55, the loan will become due. What happens to the loan if I move into long-term care? If you are the only person in the home who qualifies for the program, the loan will become due when the home is sold. If you have a spouse or partner who is 55 or older, and the home is his or her primary residence, the loan will continue. If your spouse or partner is under 55, the loan will become due. If I no longer meet the 25% home equity requirement, does the loan become due? No, the loan will not become due until you sell or move; however, you will no longer be eligible for new SPTD loans. What is ATB Financial s role? ATB Financial is the loans administrator on behalf of the Alberta government. They manage the loan accounts, and offer applications and financial advice at their branches. I don t bank at ATB. Can my bank help me with this program? Frequently Asked Questions 5

6 ATB Financial is our partner financial institution; however, your bank may be able to offer assistance. You can also get help by calling the Alberta Supports Contact Centre at ( in Edmonton). Do I have to repay the loan all at once? Yes, typically loans will be repaid in full when the home is sold. General Is the Seniors Property Tax Deferral Program a reverse mortgage? No, unlike most reverse mortgages, there are no up-front charges for this program, and interest charges are only applied to the original amount of the loan. What other Alberta government financial supports are available for seniors? For information on other Alberta government financial and health supports, call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre at ( in Edmonton), or visit health.alberta.ca. Frequently Asked Questions 6

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