Salmon Arm taxpayers across all classes will see their tax deadline extended this year, but council encourages those who can, to pay by July 2 as usual.
Although the city decided on April 14 to extend the property tax deadline to July 30 from its usual due date of July 2, that changed with an announcement from the provincial government.
The city’s acting chief financial officer Tracy Tulak explained to council that the province sent a release on April 16 stating it was extending the late payment penalty for commercial properties to Oct. 1, meaning those taxes would be due by Sept. 30.
Tulak explained the city’s software can’t calculate different deadlines for different classifications of taxes, so it was necessary for the finance department to change the deadline for all classes, including residential, to Sept. 30.
Mayor Alan Harrison noted that although he is in favour of helping out taxpayers, this created headaches for a finance department that had already been tasked with changes.
“As you can imagine if you’re in the finance department and you get a budget passed by council, and then you get council to redo the budget, and then you get council to set new dates and the new dates have to be changed because the province changes the dates – It’s not all that simple when you’re sitting in the finance department. We very much appreciate the flexibility and the ability to get things done fast by that department.”
Harrison said council encourages those people who can pay on the usual July 2 date to please do so.
“We’re confident that during these times people will step forward and won’t just delay if they have the tax money ready to go.”
Coun. Kevin Flynn also expressed disappointment with the decision, saying that during the weekly calls with the province, many municipalities had wanted flexibility in the deadline for payment. And the city had decided on the end of July.
“Now the flexibility has been mandated, which isn’t really flexibility…,” he said.
“It is positive for our taxpayers; hopefully most will pay when they normally do because we could end up with a cash flow issue. I am in support of making a consistent date, even though I think we should have been able to keep it at July 31.”
Council also reduced the tax increase to zero in an effort to help people during the pandemic.