District waives certain late tax penalties

Taxpayers no longer punished for not using same bank as District of 100 Mile House

The District of 100 Mile House council has changed its rules to allow more processing time for property tax payments made promptly at financial institutions other than its own.

Anyone who paid this year’s civic taxes for 100 Mile House or before the due date of July 5, 2011 through a bona fide financial institution other than the district bank of record has now had any applicable penalty waived.

The details of this decision, made in an in-camera session in August, were declassified and released as public information at the Oct. 11 council meeting.

District administrator Roy Scott says some of these taxes were paid elsewhere in the province, such as in the Lower Mainland.

“There were a number of people, maybe a dozen or so, who had paid their taxes on time, but they didn’t pay them at our bank.”

The issue came to his attention most notably when Scott realized some folks had paid their taxes before the deadline at branches located in 100 Mile House, yet had the penalty applied.

Some local payments were made as early as June 28, he explains, but the funds didn’t reach the district’s bank until after the due date and were, therefore, registered as late.

The long weekend in July highlighted the problem with this year’s tax payments, he notes.

“The way the legislation is written is non-permissive. We can’t forgive the interest, or write it off.

“What we had to do is recognize [record] the payment with the date they paid as having been the date of remittance, and that way we could then reverse the penalty that would automatically be charged.”

All district landowners who paid on time through a bona fide financial institution other than the district’s bank of record, and had a late penalty applied, has been notified and given their choice of a rebate or a credit for that penalty.

Scott explains that after he talked to the provincial government to check the process it uses, he realized it is “just common sense.”

“If you pay your utility bill or your [BC Hydro] bill, or your tax bill for the federal or provincial government, and pay it at any institution that they don’t use, it’s recognized as received on that day.

“So, we’re just catching up with what is proper.”