Calgary lowers late fees for property tax bills
City says 90 per cent of tax accounts for 2020 are fully paid up
Calgary city council unanimously approved lowering the penalty fees for business and home owners who can't afford to pay this year's property tax bill.
The city would usually charge a seven per cent penalty on July 1 if taxes were not yet paid, with another seven per cent charge to follow on Oct. 1. If taxes remain unpaid into the next year, then a one per cent penalty is levied each month.
On Tuesday, council voted to cut the penalties to 3.5 per cent on July 1, and waive the charges until April 2022.
Lowering the penalties will cost the city up to $5 million in lost revenue this year and lower investment income on taxes. More than 90 per cent of tax accounts for 2020 are fully paid up.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the Calgary Hotel Association had sent in a letter asking for help specifically for its downtown members, which have been devastated by the lack of business during the pandemic.
"I really thought that their request for a deferral and a payment plan rather than a cancellation of their taxes was eminently reasonable," he said.
"So if we can follow a similar model that's not a huge cost to the taxpayers but will make a big difference to a lot of these businesses at the moment … that's really what I'm very interested in exploring further."
Council is expected to discuss a possible tax deferral plan for businesses and non-profits significantly impaired by the pandemic later this month.
With files from Scott Dippel