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Tax Rates Approved—Homeowners Encouraged to Pay Property Taxes on Time if They Can

Kamloops, BC – Council has approved the 2020 tax mill rates based on revised property tax requirements presented to Council on April 21, 2020.

 Setting the mill rates for each class is the final step in the annual budgeting process and allows the City to collect property taxes. The tax mill rate for Class 1, Residential, is $4.74 per $1,000 of assessed value.

 In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Council approved revised budget items on April 21. The resulting revised property tax requirement for 2020 is $114.6 million, a 2.29% increase over 2019. The initial provisional increase before the impact of the pandemic was 2.97%.

 The mill rate sets the property tax amount for each property owner and class and is calculated using a combination of the assessed value from BC Assessment and the Council-approved property tax requirement.

“The rate translates into an approximate $55 increase for the average representative house in Kamloops, although it is important to note that the actual increase or decrease in the amount of property taxes paid by each household reflects the increase in the City’s budget as well as how your property value changed in relation to other properties in the City,” said Kathy Humphrey, the City’s Corporate Services Director.

 The City recognizes the concerns and financial impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has on individuals and homeowners. July 2, 2020, will remain the deadline to pay property taxes, and a 10% penalty is typically levied on outstanding taxes the following day (July 3).

 However, to provide flexibility for homeowners (Classes 1,2,3 and 9) this year, Council approved extending the penalty window and splitting the penalty between two dates, as follows:

• Payment by July 2 deadline – no penalty
• Payment between July 3-July 30 – no penalty
• Payment between July 31-September 30 – 5% penalty
• Payment after October 1 – 10% penalty

 Homeowners should still apply for their Home Owner Grants on time to ensure that this reduction is reflected on their accounts.

 Earlier this month, the Province announced October 1, 2020, as the date for the application of the 10% penalty for property Classes 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.

 Although a grace period is in place, the City strongly encourages all homeowners and businesses that can pay their taxes on time do so. The City relies on property taxes and utilities revenue as the main source of revenue for the year, and the timing of receipt from taxes directly impacts the City’s cash flow.

“As a property owner, if you are able to pay your taxes on the due date of July 2, please do. This revenue helps the City to keep operating and providing vital services that the public relies on, especially in times like these,” explained Humphrey.

“We have put contingency measures in place, but we are asking all citizens who can to please pay their taxes by July 2, if at all possible.”

For those 55+, families with children, widows and widowers, and people with disabilities, the Province already has a program available to defer property taxes. This option is a low-interest loan against the principal residence.

 The City would like to remind homeowners that the total amount payable on property tax bills does not just reflect the homeowner’s property taxes. It also reflects taxes collected on behalf of external authorities, such as the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, the hospital, and the school district. Taxes for these external authorities are not set by the City and are due to the external bodies by an assigned deadline.

“The City needs property taxes to make these payments so that the City doesn’t go into debt and to support these other entities, which rely on the collection of this funding to continue their operations,” said Humphrey.

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