City council defers property tax payments to help Hamiltonians during COVID-19
Delayed property tax payments and waived penalties could mean $1 million revenue loss for the city
Property tax payments are being deferred for 60 days and any penalties temporarily waived to financially assist Hamilton residents during COVID-19.
As a result of the ongoing pandemic, city councillors agreed during a virtual council meeting Wednesday, to delay April 30 property tax payments for 60 days.
All residents, regardless of property class, now have until June 30 to pay and will not incur any penalties or interest fees before then. City officials estimate that these measures and other financial assistance actions being taken could result in a $500,000 to $1 million loss in revenue for the city.
"We want to assist those who are facing financial hardship," said the city's general finance manager Mike Zegarac.
The next property tax instalment, due June 30, will also be deferred for 30 days to stagger the payments.
Council had agreed to review the feasibility of these actions during a meeting at the end of last month.
At this time, there are no changes being made to the Sept. 30 property tax payment date, though staff will continue to monitor the situation.
Any pre-existing interest fees from before the approved property tax assistance measures were put in place will still apply and continue to be charged.
Property tax assistance and other financial relief measures under this plan include:
Taxpayers on pre-authorized payment plans and those who provide post-dated cheques can cancel their payments within seven business days, where previously they were required to give two weeks.
Residents with insufficient funds that lead to a return payment will not be charged the Non-Sufficient Fund Administrative Fee related to this. Previously, the city would charge $35.30 plus HST for any sort of returned payment (cheques and pre-authorized payments). This fee will now be waived until July 31.
The 60-day waiving of penalty and interest charges on the April 30th instalment and the 30-day waiving of penalty charges on the June 30th instalment will be extended to mortgage companies remitting property tax payments on behalf of their clients.
Administrative fees and fees related to penalty and interest charges with overdue Alectra payments of water and wastewater bills will be waived until July 31. This applies to charges incurred by the end of the week of March 20. Any charges transferred to the tax roll by and before March 13 still apply.
Other tax roll transfers including unpaid property standards, licensing and Provincial Offenses Act fines. Any of these transferred to the tax roll until July 31, will not be charged penalty and interest or the administrative fee.