Senior Manitoba homeowners can start applying this month for the new seniors' school tax rebate, the province said today.
Finance Minister Jennifer Howard said it’s the first step in the NDP’s pledge to eliminate school taxes for seniors by 2016.
"With our new school tax rebate on top of existing education property tax credits, seniors can save up to $1,335 off their property taxes this year," Howard said.
To qualify for the new tax rebate, a senior must:
- own and live in their home;
- be at least 65 by the end of 2014, and
- have school taxes not already fully covered by the existing Education Property Tax Credit.
Howard said eligible seniors can start applying when they receive their property-tax statement from their municipality. Residents of Winnipeg, Brandon and several other communities will receive their property-tax statements this month, while some municipalities send out their tax bills over the summer or early fall.
Applications and more information are available at www.manitoba.ca/seniorsrebate or by calling 204-945-7555 in Winnipeg or at 1-855-893-8266 (toll-free).
An estimated 80,000 homes are owned by seniors in Manitoba, the province says.
About 10,000 senior homeowners already have their school taxes fully covered by the Education Property Tax Credit, and this year an additional 7,200 senior households will no longer pay school taxes with the new seniors' school tax rebate. The rebates are expected to total about $15 million.
A maximum rebate of $235 is available in 2014, in addition to the $700 in Education Property Tax Credit and up to $400 in the Seniors Education Property Tax Credit top-up. The rebate will increase in 2015 and by 2016 will fully cover school taxes for seniors.
Based on concerns raised by several Manitobans, the province will be setting a rebate limit for luxury homes, a move that would affect less than one per cent of senior homeowners starting in 2016, Howard said.
Howard has already said the province needs an extra year to fulfill a 2011 election promise to bring in the new tax credit, citing the need to not only to eliminate the deficit in three years, but to deal with lower-than-anticipated federal transfer payments due to an ongoing squabble with Ottawa over how many people actually live in Manitoba.