Glossary for property taxes

Last updated on April 7, 2022

The information provided here is explanatory. Where there is a conflict between this information and the Act, the Act shall prevail.




Adjusted net income

Your adjusted net income is your net income, plus the net income of your shared income partner (if you have one), less any allowable deductions.

Note: If your current shared income partner was not your partner during the relevant tax year, you should not include their net income.



For tax deferment purposes, an administrator is the person who is administering the estate of a deceased owner.


Agreement for sale

A contract for the sale of an interest in land where the purchaser agrees to pay the purchase price over a period of time as stated in the contract. Upon payment, the vendor must transfer the interest in land to the purchaser.



The act of combining or uniting, or a consolidation. 




Canadian citizen

A person described as a citizen under the Citizenship Act. This means a person who was:

  • born in Canada
  • born outside of Canada to a Canadian citizen who was themselves either born in Canada or granted citizenship
  • granted Canadian citizenship (naturalization)


A warning that someone is claiming an interest in a parcel of land


Certificate of pending litigation

A document filed at the Land Title Office, stating that a property is the subject of a court proceeding and that ownership of the property may change as a result.



An incorporated association, company, society, municipality or other incorporated body that includes a corporation sole other than Her Majesty or the Lieutenant Governor.


Corporate interest holder

An individual in relation to a relevant corporation, who:

  • has legal and beneficial ownership OR has direct or indirect control
    • of shares representing 25% or more of the relevant corporation’s equity OR
    • of 25% of voting rights in respect to the relevant corporation
  • has direct or indirect right to appoint/remove the majority of the board of directors of the relevant corporation
  • has the right to exercise under unanimous shareholder’s agreement or otherwise, significant influence or control over the relevant corporation.

Court-appointed committee

When the Court appoints a person to protect the interests of and make decisions on behalf of an adult who is deemed mentally incapable of managing his or her affairs, including decisions:

  • about the provision or withdrawal of healthcare
  • about the management of personal finances

Court order

A written direction or command delivered by a court or judge. 




Daily living activity

A daily living activity, in relation to a person with disabilities, includes these activities in their principal residence:

  • preparing meals
  • managing finances
  • performing housework
  • moving about inside
  • performing personal hygiene and self-care
  • managing medication
  • making decisions about activities, care or finances
  • relating to, communicating or interacting with others effectively




Eligible property

For tax deferment purposes, an eligible property is used for residential purposes and is:

  • an area of land with improvements on it, or
  • a manufactured home and the area of land the manufactured home is located on if it's owned by the same person.


When a property is transferred to the Crown because it was owned by:

  • a corporation that has been dissolved, or
  • a person that died without having made a will and doesn't have any known heirs to claim the estate

Executor / executrix

For tax deferment purposes, the executor/executrix is the executor of the will of a deceased owner.



Fee simple

The law recognizes this form of estate (ownership) in real estate as the highest form. The property owner is entitled to full enjoyment of the property, limited only by zoning laws, deed or subdivision restrictions or covenants. The duration of this ownership is not limited and can be passed along in a will to the owner's heirs.


Financial institution

Financial institution means either:



A legal proceeding initiated by the lender to end a mortgagor’s interest in property  to either gain title or force a sale to meet unpaid debt secured by the property.



When the ownership for a property is transferred to the Crown because rural property taxes haven't been paid.


Foreign corporation

A foreign corporation is a corporation that is one of the following:

  • Not incorporated in Canada, or
  • Is incorporated in Canada but is controlled directly or indirectly by one or more foreign entities (see section 256 of the Income Tax Act (Canada) for further details), unless the shares of the corporation are listed on a Canadian stock exchange.

Foreign national

A person who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, including a stateless person.





Government means either:




Health professional

A health professional is:

  • a medical practitioner,
  • a nurse practitioner,
  • a registered psychologist who is authorized by the College of Psychologists of B.C. to practice psychology, or
  • an occupational therapist authorized by the College of Occupational Therapists of B.C. to practice occupational therapy.




Buildings or structures on a property, such as:

  • houses
  • manufactured homes
  • modular homes
  • garages
  • sheds or other outbuildings
  • paving, such as driveways
  • utilities, such as sewer
  • timber


An individual means a natural person.



The court may make an order prohibiting the owner of the property from dealing with that property. The injunction may be temporary or permanent.


In trust

For tax deferment purposes, “in trust” means the registered owner holds their interest as a trustee under a trust agreement.




A court’s final determination of the rights and obligations of the parties in a court case.




Land co-operative

A separate taxable parcel owned by a corporation exclusively for the benefit of its shareholders. Shareholders have a right to occupy a portion of the parcel and to own share(s) and other securities that have a value equivalent to the value of the portion in relation to the value of the parcel.


Laneway home

A small, detached house built on a single family lot, usually in the backyard and opening onto the back lane.



An agreement where:

  • a leasehold estate is granted or assigned, or
  • an option to renew or extend the term of a lease is granted, including a lease modification agreement

Lease modification 

An agreement between a lessor and a lessee that extends the term of the lease.


Leased land

A contract where the owner allows another person to use and occupy their land for a specified period and in return for a specified rent.


Life estate

An agreement for an individual to reside on a property for a specified period of time (usually until death) at which point the property reverts to a fee simple owner.


Live in B.C.

A homeowner is considered to live in B.C. if it's the province where they ordinarily reside. This doesn't include casual, intermittent or transitory visits to B.C. Living in B.C. usually means a homeowner will:

  • File their income taxes as a B.C. resident
  • Be enrolled in B.C.'s Medical Services Plan
  • Have a B.C. driver's licence
  • Have their vehicle registered in B.C.




Marriage separation

You have a written separation agreement under which you have agreed to live apart or a court order recognizing your separation from your spouse.


Medical practitioner

A person registered by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia and entitled under the Health Professions Act to practice medicine and use the title “medical practitioner.”




Net income

Net income is the amount shown on line 236 on your income tax Notice of Assessment.


Non-member leaseholder

A person who leases land on a First Nations' reserve but isn't a member of a First Nations.


Northern and rural area

A property that isn't located in any of the following regional districts:


Nurse practitioner

A person who is authorized by the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia to practice nursing as a nurse practitioner and use the title “nurse practitioner.”




Option to purchase

A document formalizing an agreement that a person is allowed to be given the chance to purchase the property within a specified period of time.




Permanent resident

Someone who has acquired permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada, but is not yet a Canadian citizen.


Person with a disability

Under the home owner grant, a person with a disability is someone who has a severe mental or physical impairment that, in the opinion of a health professional, is likely to continue for at least 2 years. This impairment directly and significantly restricts the person’s ability to perform one or more daily living activities either continuously or periodically for extended periods. In order to perform daily living activities, the person with a disability requires:

  • significant help or supervision of another person, help from an assistive device or the services of an assistance animal, or
  • a qualifying modification to their principal residence or land.

Prepaid lease

Rent has been paid for the term of the lease agreement before the date of the lease is registered or will be paid within one year of the date the lease is registered.


Principal residence

A principal residence is the usual place that a person makes their home.

If a person owns more than one home, they can't designate which one is their principal residence. Their principal residence is where they live and conduct their daily affairs, like paying bills and receiving mail, and it's generally the residence used in government records for things like income tax, Medical Services Plan, driver's licence and vehicle registration.



Land and improvements such as buildings or structures.


Property classifications

A classification system used by BC Assessment to define the type and use of each property. There are nine property classifications:

  1. Residential
  2. Utilities
  3. Supportive housing
  4. Major industry
  5. Light industry
  6. Business
  7. Managed forest land
  8. Recreational property, non-profit organization
  9. Farm land




Qualifying modification

Changes to the home that are necessary for the person with disabilities to:

  • Gain access to their home
  • Be mobile or functional within their home
  • Reduce the risk of harm in their home or while getting into their home

Quit claim

When a person terminates his or her right and claim to a property and transfers their interest to a recipient.



Registered owner / owner

Under Home Owner Grant, an owner of real property is:

  • the registered owner, who is an individual, of an estate in fee simple
  • a tenant for life under a registered life estate
  • a registered holder of the last registered Agreement for Sale
  • the holder or occupier of land held as described in Section 228 or Section 229 of the Community Charter
  • a First Nations person who is an owner under the terms of Section 9 of the Local Government Act

Under Property Tax Deferment, a registered owner is:

  • a person recorded in Land Title Office records as a:
    • registered owner in fee simple
    • tenant for life under a Registered Life Estate, or
    • registered holder of the last registered Agreement for Sale or Right to Purchase


  • a person recorded in the Manufactured Home Registry as the owner of a manufactured home.

It doesn't include a person who is a registered owner of a lease.


Related individual

Under Home Owner Grant, a related individual or relative is:

  • your child or grandchild
  • your brother, sister or parent

For the home owner grant for people with disabilities, a relative also includes:

  • a step-parent or grandparent
  • the person standing in the place of a parent of the person with disabilities

Under Property Transfer Tax, a related individual or relative includes:

  • your child, grandchild, great-grandchild and their spouse
  • your parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent
  • your spouse and their child, parent, grandparent or great-grandparent  

Note: Child includes a step-child. 


Relevant trust

An express trust OR a legal relationship created in another jurisdiction similar to a legal relationship created under an express trust.

Relevant trusts do not include: charitable trusts, Public Guardian and Trustee trusts , bankruptcy trusts, mutual funds trusts, real estate investment trusts, SIFT or pooled registered pension trusts.


Reserve land

Crown land specifically set aside for occupation by First Nations.


Residential care facility

A facility, such as an assisted-living, intermediate-care or long-term-care facility, or a group, retirement or nursing home, that meets the following criteria:

  • It is a house or building occupied by a business, or part of a house or building occupied by a business
  • Housing and daily meals are provided to residents of the facility by, or through, the operator (the individual or corporation that runs the business)
  • At least one resident of the facility is a person who is not the spouse of the operator, or related by blood or marriage to the operator

Residents reside there primarily due to family circumstances, age, disability, illness, or frailty.


Residential unit

A self-contained unit that has cooking, sleeping, bathroom and living room facilities.


Restrictive lien

For tax deferment purposes, a charge registered on title that prohibits changes to title except when certain conditions are met.



When the previous owner(s) of a property are restored on a property title.


Right to Purchase

An agreement for the sale of property where the buyer pays the purchase price over a period of time until full payment is made, at which point title is transferred to the buyer.




Shared income partner

A person that is/was your spouse during a specific tax year.


Simple interest

An interest charge that is always based on the amount loaned and does not compound.



A society as defined in the BC Societies Act or equivalent enactment in a different jurisdiction.



Under Property Tax Deferment, Home Owner Grant and Property Transfer Tax, a spouse is a person you are married to or living in a marriage-like relationship with for at least two years.

Under Home Owner Grant, the definition of a separated spouse has changed effective 2021. Learn more about separated spouses


Surviving spouse

A woman or man who lost their spouse by death and who is not currently the spouse of another person.


Strata corporation

A strata corporation established under the Strata Property Act.




Tax authorities

The province, municipalities, improvement districts and agencies that are legally authorized to levy property taxes. Taxing authorities include:

  • The Province of British Columbia
  • Regional Districts
  • Improvement Districts
  • Regional Hospital Districts
  • BC Assessment
  • Municipal Finance Authority
  • Islands Trust
  • British Columbia Transit Authority

Taxable trustee

Further to the definition in the Property Transfer Tax Act, section 2.01, a taxable trustee is:

  • a foreign national or foreign corporation holding title in trust for beneficiaries, or

  • a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, if a beneficiary of the trust is a foreign national or foreign corporation and that beneficiary holds a beneficial interest in residential property held by the trust immediately after registration of the transfer with the Land Title Office.

The term ‘beneficial interest’ refers to a right or expectancy in relation to property of the trust that is distinct from legal title.

A trust does not need to be established by a written, notarized document. An intention by words or conduct to create a trust may create a trust relationship. In some cases, the existence of a trust relationship is presumed, for example in the case of a resulting trust.

The existence of a trust relationship will often depend on mixed questions of fact and law. Where it is unclear if a trust relationship exists, consult a trust lawyer.


Tenure assignment

When an individual or business takes over an existing Crown land tenure from the current occupier before their tenure ends.



Utility user fee

Utility user fees are charges for the use of utilities such as:

  • Water
  • Sewer
  • Recycling

Utility user fees are usually billed separately from your annual property taxes. However, unpaid utility user fees may appear on your property tax notice as a separate charge.




Waiver / filing a waiver

Filing a waiver allows you to extend the assessment period of an audit to allow additional time for discussion and collection of information.

A waiver stays in effect for six months after it has been revoked.