Options for Property Tax Due Date and Penalty application
Section 197 of the Community Charter states that the annual Tax Rates Bylaw needs to be adopted after the financial plan but before May 15th. Due to the current COVID 19 crisis, and the effect it is having on our residents and businesses of our community I would like to discuss some options for Council to consider with regard to setting the Property Tax due date and penalties.
The Town of Osoyoos is currently utilizing the General Tax Collection Scheme as per section 234 of the Community Charter, which establishes the due date of July 2nd, including a 10% penalty on unpaid current taxes after the due date.
In discussion with my colleagues around the province there is a number of municipal finance departments considering utilizing Section 235 of the Community charter to set a later due date and alternative penalty structure for 2020 in light of the financial pressures being felt during this time.
Options for Property tax due dates:
1) July 2nd 10% penalty after due date (general tax collection scheme)
2) August 31 5% penalty after due date, 5% December 31 on unpaid balance (alternative tax
3) September 18 5% penalty after due date, 5% December 31 on unpaid balance (alternative
tax collection scheme)
In 2019 51.79% and 2018 53.76% of taxes were collected in the last week.
We are currently in a good position financially to be able to support a later tax due date for 2020 and would be able to maintain operations and cash flows. There may be other alternatives the provincial or federal government may set up, however, to date there are none related to assisting property owners with their property taxes. In addition even if there
were some considerations for the higher levels of government the amount of limitations usually imposed by these offerings makes a number of people not eligible to utilize the program or service. By making this change to our property tax bylaw for 2020 we are giving our owners more time to be able to pay for their tax and utility bill for this year.
Recommendation: Go with Option 3.
Director of Financial Services