County gets relief on uncollectable tax

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County welcomes news that the provincial government will provide a tax credit for uncollectable education property taxes on oil and gas properties.

It’s very good that the government is going to do something about it,” Reeve Ken Matthews says.

For the long term, it’s something the government should have been doing for years.”

He heard the announcement on Nov. 15 by Municipal Affairs Minister Shaye Anderson during the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) fall convention Nov. 14-17 in Edmonton.

For a majority of rural municipalities, it’s been a burden they have had for a long time and they brought it forward to the government,” Matthews says.

Some counties and M.D.s have struggled with that for 10 years and they’ve had no recourse.”

Matthews is eager to find out more details to determine how it will affect the local county.

The minister says the government responded to the concerns of municipalities.

I heard loud and clear during my visits to rural communities this summer that they are facing tax recovery challenges,” Anderson says in a news release.

So we made this a priority and worked with the association to come up with this solution.”

Municipalities that have written off the municipal property tax for oil and gas facilities will be eligible to apply for a credit on the education component of their property tax.

Annually, municipalities collect education property taxes on behalf of the province through their municipal property tax system.

Oil and gas facilities are taxed until there is an abandoned status on the records of the Alberta Energy Regulator.

Once abandoned, no assessment is prepared.

The process can take several years and, in the meantime, the municipality is required to remit education property tax.

The Provincial Education Requisition Credit will be retroactive to 2015, when oil prices began to fall, and continues until 2019. Tax relief has been a capped at $10 million per year.

The AAMDC is very appreciative of Minister Anderson and his cabinet colleagues, listening to municipalities about this challenge,” says Al Kennere, president of the AAMDC.

Having to pay education tax to the government that couldn’t be collected has created significant financial challenges for our members.

With the government’s support, municipalities can now focus on other matters, as we look forward to the long term solution to this issue.”

The first deadline for applications is Jan. 15, 2018.

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