An American woman, who spends half of the year in the seaside community of St. Andrews, says high New Brunswick taxes are pushing some U.S. summer residents out of Canada.
As a non-Canadian, Karen Hastings is allowed to spend only six months at a time in the country so that forces her into the non-resident category when she files her property taxes.
Hastings has been spending her summers in St. Andrews since 1973 and she owns a cozy home with a stunning view of the water.
But that water view is coming at a high cost. In the last decade, her property assessment has shot up to $250,000 from $105,000 and that means she’s paying $6,600 in taxes.
That amounts to $1,100 for every month that she spends in Canada.
'I know one couple is selling here in St. Andrews. They live in Florida and they're selling their house because of the extreme tax.' — Karen Hastings
"Obviously I'm retired and I have a certain amount of money that comes in and it's a big budgeting item to pay this tax every year," she said.
Hastings vows to remain in New Brunswick. One of her daughters has become a permanent resident of New Brunswick and is now raising a family in the province.
"I love it here. And if I have to always pay too much, I will continue to do that because I think New Brunswick is a beautiful province," she said.
But Hastings said not everyone is making the same long-term commitment to Canada.
Hastings said an American friend is now leaving the province after getting an $11,000 property tax bill.
"I know one couple is selling here in St. Andrews. They live in Florida and they're selling their house because of the extreme tax," she said.
For years, New Brunswick realtors have urged the provincial government to lower the property taxes on these property owners because they say it discourages investment.
These same rules also apply to apartments.
In New Brunswick, homeowners pay a municipal tax on the building in which they live, but if the building they own is a rental property, a provincial tax is also applied.
In effect, the owner is taxed twice on his or her property, so most landlords add the extra payment onto the rents they charge. In his budget speech in March, Finance Minister Blaine Higgs promised a move in that direction.
"A gradual reduction of the provincial residential property tax rate on apartments, second homes and cottages," he said.
The reduction will be spread over a number of years.