Calgary city council approves break on penalty for owed taxes

Calgarians late on their property taxes will be getting a much-needed break during the coronavirus pandemic.

Calgary city council voted unanimously Tuesday to charge just a 3.5 per cent penalty on back taxes on Oct. 1. The penalty is usually seven per cent.

Read more: Calgary’s chief financial officer ​unveils tax payment delay program amid COVID-19 pandemic

City of Calgary tax manager Michael Perkins told council that residential taxpayers pay roughly $700 million to the city, with businesses paying the same amount.

“As of Friday, Sept. 11, the percentage of residential payments exceeded 70 per cent and the percentage of non-residential payments exceeded 42 per cent,” Perkins said.

Read more: Calgary homeowners frustrated after getting hit with big property tax bills

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Administration suggested the 3.5 per cent amount when considering the city’s borrowing costs, rate of return on investments and retail borrowing interest rates, with council’s aim to get homeowners to pay their owed taxes. Council also considered the fact that non-payment of taxes could put some in technical default of their mortgage.

In April, council approved a complete suspension on penalties for July 1. In previous years, the city charged seven per cent on back taxes at the beginning of July.

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