Delaying Property Tax Payment -No Penalty, No Interest.
On Monday, your City Council took an important step to support Calgarians through this crisis. We will be offering the option of delaying property tax payment without penalty or interest for both homeowners and commercial property owners until September 30, similar to what the province announced on their portion of the property tax bill for businesses.
My hope is that for right now, this at least removes one source of stress from businesses and homeowners. You don’t have to worry about paying your property tax bill right away.
That being said, if you can afford to pay your property tax bill either through continuing your monthly TIPPs payments or in a lump sum, we encourage you to do so. You’ll both be helping the city out and avoiding the risk of a big bill later in the year.
I wish we could simply forgive the payments but, unfortunately, as a municipality we don’t have that capacity. We rely on property taxes to fund essential city services like police and fire, roads and transit, and, unlike other governments, we can’t easily run a deficit at the end of the year, so we need to balance our books by December. That said, we are in a good financial position and able to cover our cash flow from this 90-day payment delay. We are also continuing, with other cities, to advocate on your behalf to the federal and provincial governments to use their authority and financial position to help us so that we can help you more.
You may have also seen that on Monday Council approved the property tax bylaw, which formalizes a small increase to the residential tax rate and a large decrease to the non-residential tax rate. This was a formalization of the budget we passed last November. We froze our budget for the year (excluding some provincial downloading to the police budget) but also enacted a tax shift to give some relief for struggling small businesses. The average home will see an increase of about $12.50 per month on their municipal taxes (plus another $7.50 on the provincial side of the bill). Businesses, on the other hand will see a decrease of over 10%. This is because, in the economic downturn, we found that businesses were paying a greater proportion of the city budget than they had historically, so Council decided to rebalance that amount. Both residential and non-residential property taxes are still amongst the lowest in Canada after this change.
While this change had nothing to do with COVID-19, the current crisis has made it even more important to help our small and medium-sized businesses as much as we can.
As this crisis continues, I hope that we will be able to do more for individuals and businesses that are struggling. We’ve never faced anything like this before and I know many households are feeling financial strain and uncertainty. We have removed at least one of your worries for now, and with the help of the orders of government, hope to do even more as we get through this crisis like we always do: together.
Clean Hands, Clear Heads, Open Hearts.
Categories: Good Government