Big Lakes County writes off ‘uncollectible’ taxes

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County has taken more than $8,000 in uncollectible taxes from landowners off the books.
At its regular meeting Dec. 14 council approved a motion to write off $8,177.66 deemed uncollectible.
However, council is also seeking some relief for the loss in taxes.
Council passed another motion to apply for the Provincial Education Requisition Credit (PERC) and the Designated Industrial Property Tax Credit (DIRC).
Collecting taxes from some industries has been difficult in the past few years, said Dave Reynolds, director of corporate services.
“With the downturn in the energy industry in recent years, municipalities are finding it increasingly difficult to collect property taxes, often due to insolvency or receivership of oil and gas companies and other industrial properties,” Reynolds said.
PERC provides municipalities with an education property tax credit equal to the uncollectible education property taxes on delinquent oil and gas properties, he says.
DIRC provides affected municipalities with a credit equal to the designated industrial property tax requisition associated with taxable properties that are delinquent in payment of the requisition.
“The term of DIRC does not have an expiration date and can be applied retroactively to the 2018 tax year,” Reynolds said.
“Municipalities may apply for both the PERC and DIRC program under a single application.”
In cases where unpaid taxes have not been written off, the municipality will be required to report the status of tax recovery on an annual basis.
If the collectible taxes are eventually recovered in whole or in part, it must be reported to Municipal Affairs and the recovered amounts must be remitted to the Alberta School Foundation Fund (ASFF – PERC) or Municipal Affairs assessor (DIRC).
“This is a welcomed program as municipalities are required to remit education property taxes regardless of whether it’s been collected from taxpayers,” Reynolds said.
Applications are due to Municipal Affairs by Jan. 15 for the previous years uncollectible taxes.
One tax roll of $207.86 is from a receivership while the balance of $7,969.80 comes from 11 tax rolls where the business no longer exists.
Reynolds noted the county continues to attempt to recover uncollectible taxes considered a write-off.

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