The amount of outstanding taxes owed in Fort St. John more than doubled this year to $17 million.
There was $17.04 million still owed after the July 2 deadline, according to a report from finance director Shirley Collington that goes to council on July 13. That's a collection rate of just 62% of the $43.94 million levied on 9,190 properties for 2020, and includes taxes for the city, school district, regional district, hospital, and other provincial authorities.
There was $8.1 million still owed at this time last year, and collections this year are down by 21%, Collington noted.
“The lower collection rate against receivables is of some concern,” Collington writes in the report.
That was, however, to be expected this year due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.
Council has extended this year's payment deadline to Sept. 30, and penalties will not be issued until Oct. 1.
However, the city received just 170 applications to defer taxes until the fall, for an estimated $583,000, based on the average tax bill of $3,430 for this year.
Collington writes that it’s possible some taxpayers will catch up with their payments by the September deadline, including those who did not file an application.
However, "It is also possible that some commercial businesses and individuals may not pay their taxes this year,” Collington writes.
Total tax levies were down 12% this year due to cuts in provincial school and other taxes.
Of the $43.94 million, the city accounts for a net of $31.52 million, which includes property taxes and others levied for local area improvements, utilities, and transit.
The city holds a tax sale every fall to recover taxes on properties that have fallen into arrears over the last three years.
There were 176 properties with $2.64 million in delinquent taxes and arrears owed as of July 3.
Read the property tax report below:
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