Tax Sales

The power of municipalities under the Local Government Act (the “LGA”) to sell private properties for the non-payment of property taxes is an extraordinary remedy. Given the significant consequences of this remedy to owners’ private property interests, the municipal tax sale process involves several important legislative requirements that require strict compliance by municipalities, and may give rise to significant legal consequences for municipalities if not strictly complied with.

This paper will provide an overview of the requirements and obligations of collectors and local governments in British Columbia relating to procedures before the tax sale, during the tax sale, and after the tax sale, including throughout the redemption period. In examining each of these steps, this paper will also outline recent court decisions and practical commentary that may guide municipal collectors through the often-complex mechanics of the tax sale process. We note that this paper is intended to provide general guidance relating to the legislative framework of tax sales, procedure and does not encompass every legal issue that may arise. Collectors are strongly encouraged to seek legal advice in relation to specific questions.

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