Municipal property tax sale
A tax sale is a public auction of properties within a municipality which have unpaid property taxes from two years prior to the current year.
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At 10:00 am on the last Monday in September, the municipal collector must conduct an annual tax sale by offering for sale by public auction each parcel of real property on which taxes are delinquent.
Delinquent taxes are any taxes remaining unpaid on December 31, two years after the year the tax was imposed. For example, taxes imposed in 2018 and still unpaid become delinquent on January 1, 2020.
The tax sale is held in the council chambers at municipal hall of each municipality in B.C.
Notice of the time and place of the tax sale and the legal description and street address of the property subject to tax sale must be published in accordance with section 94 of the Community Charter. Notice by at least one of the means specified in a public notice bylaw (or if using the default, the last publication of the notice) must be not less than three days and not more than ten days before the date of the annual tax sale.
The upset price is the lowest price that a property may be sold for at tax sale. The upset price is the total amount of current year taxes receivable, plus the prior year's taxes currently in arrears, plus two years prior delinquent taxes, plus any penalties and interest that have accrued on each of those three years taxes unpaid.
For example, a property going to tax sale in September 2018, will have unpaid taxes from 2018 (current year), 2017 (arrears), and 2016 (delinquent) plus applicable penalties and interest for each.
An additional 5% of all taxes, penalties and interest is included in the upset price plus any applicable fees prescribed under the Land Title Act.
The highest bidder above the upset price or, if there is no bid above the upset price, the bidder at the upset price must be declared the purchaser. If there is no bid, or no bid equal to the upset price, the municipality must be declared the purchaser. If the municipality has been declared the purchaser, the collector may offer the same property for sale again later at the annual tax sale on the same conditions as before.
The purchaser must immediately pay the collector the amount of the purchase price. If the purchaser fails to do so, the collector must promptly offer the property for sale again.
A property sold at tax sale may be redeemed by the owner within one year from the day the annual tax sale began. A redemption is made by paying to the collector the total of the upset price plus all costs the collector has had notice that have been incurred by the purchaser in maintenance of the property and in prevention of waste, plus taxes advanced by the purchaser plus interest to the date of redemption.
During the redemption period, the property must continue to be assessed and taxed in the name of the owner who at the time of tax sale appeared on the assessment roll as the owner of the property.