COVID-19 and taxes in Halifax

In support of the public health directives to minimize travel due to COVID-19, customers in the Musquodoboit Harbour and Porters Lake communities are able to make in-person contactless payments by dropping off cheques in the Musquodoboit Harbour Customer Service Centre drop-box. Although the  Customer Service Centre is closed to the public, cheques placed in the drop-box will be processed by staff.  Please contact 311 if you require any additional information or for assistance in locating the drop-box.

Common questions: COVID-19 and interim tax bill due date 

I cannot pay my tax bill because I am experiencing financial hardship due to COVID. What can I do?

Customers with amounts in arrears can contact HRM to discuss setting up a payment arrangement to repay the amount owing over a period of time (typically within 24 months). This option is available to commercial and residential customers. If you would like to discuss setting up a payment arrangement please contact us via phone (311) or email  hrmcollections@halifax.ca.

What happens when I do not pay my taxes?

Unpaid taxes are a first lien on the property and will be charged interest (10% annually). Legislatively, HRM is required to eventually take properties with outstanding taxes to tax sale. The tax sale process can be avoided by entering and honoring a payment arrangement to repay the amount outstanding. If you would like to discuss setting up a payment arrangement please contact us via phone (311) or email hrmcollections@halifax.ca.

I pay my taxes as part of my mortgage payment. I have contacted my bank to ask for a deferral of my mortgage payments. How will this impact my taxes?

Please reach out to your financial institution directly to understand how your mortgage deferral request will impact your property tax obligations.

Property tax

The municipality invoices property tax bills to all property owners twice each year. The tax year covers the fiscal period of April 1 – March 31.  Property tax payment information.

  • The first tax bill will be sent out in March and is due on the last working day of April**. The second and final bill will be sent out in September and is due on the last working day of October.
  • The first (or interim) invoice is based on 50 per cent of the current year’s estimated taxes, which is the current year’s assessment of your property value based on last year’s rates). The final invoice is calculated using the current assessment with the current year’s rates, less the amount you already paid from the first invoice. 
  • Tax calculations are based on the taxable assessed value of the property multiplied by the applicable tax rate. The taxable assessed value is determined by the Property Valuation Services Corporation. The tax rate is the sum of two levies: a general rate (urban, suburban, or rural) and the area rates for your district.

Penalties for late payment

The total amounts billed must be paid by the due date to avoid interest charges Interest is applied daily to all outstanding taxes at a rate of 10 per cent per annum.**

** Note: Per the decision of Regional Council on April 14, 2020, the interest rate charged on arrears has been reduced from 15% per annum to 10% per annum.

Change of address  

It is your responsibility to ensure that the correct mailing address is on your property tax account. Where there is more than one owner or more than one address, the municipality will only issue one bill to one address. 

Update your mailing address now.  

You do not need to update your address if: 

  • you have recently sold your property and purchased a new one 
  • you are a tenant and not the owner of the property

Contact the Customer Service Centre at 311 or 1-800.835.6428 (Nova Scotia residents only) if you have any questions about changing your address for tax purposes. 

Deed Transfer Tax

The deed transfer tax within the boundaries of the Halifax Regional Municipality is 1.5 percent of the purchase price of the property.  Deeds must be registered within 10 days of acquiring the title at Registry of Deeds. Penalties may apply if paid late. 

For more information, see: 

Property Tax Sale

The Municipal Government Act states that any property that has taxes outstanding for more than one year is eligible for a tax sale auction. It is mandatory for the municipality to attempt to notify the owner as well as all lien holders of the property regarding the pending sale by issuing a registered letter; however, this is not always possible and the property is then posted with a Tax Sale Notice. If the taxes remain unpaid, the property is advertised in the local paper twice prior to the tax sale.

A tax sale is a public auction with the successful bid being the highest bid at or above the advertised price. The advertised price is the total of all outstanding taxes, lienable charges, penalties, interest, and tax sale costs.

Once the bidding commences, the owner or lienholders will not be able to withdraw the property and must partake in the bidding. If the property has more than six years of outstanding taxes, the successful bidder will receive a Tax Sale Deed and become the new owner of the property.

If the property is less than six years in arrears a Certificate of Sale is issued to the successful bidder and the owner or lien holder will have six months to redeem the property. Only at the end of the redemption period, if the property has not been redeemed, will title pass to the successful bidder.

See all active tax sales in Halifax.  

Sign up for e-post

The municipality has partnered with Canada Post to offer a paperless electronic alternative to the printed tax bill that you receive by mail through their epost service. This service a way to continue to receive your interim bill and your final bill in a convenient and environmentally friendly electronic format. Sign up at www.epost.ca using your latest tax bill.