Tuesday, September 13, 2011

City of WL issues "clarification" around new Permissive Property Tax Exemption Rules

From the City of Williams Lake:

In response to inquiries following a recent media story (See Sept 6th WL Tribune article hereon permissive tax exemptions, the City is issuing clarification on the policy.

Council received a draft Permissive Tax Exemption Policy at its August 30 council meeting, and directed staff to organize consultation with the current recipients of permissive tax exemptions.

The draft policy, which has not yet been adopted by Council, provides fair and consistent criteria for permissive exemption eligibility. In addition, it provides staff and Council with a framework to follow when reviewing permissive tax exemption applications from non-profit organizations, ensuring consistency and certainty for the City and the applicants.

Under the draft policy, all organizations will be required to submit an application for permissive tax exemptions in contrast to the current practice of Council renewing existing exemptions.

The eligibility criteria under the draft policy requires that the applicant:

* Qualifies for an exemption under the provisions of the Community Charter, general authority for permissive exemptions (Part 7, Division 7, Section 224). And the property owner is in compliance with municipal policies, plans, bylaws, and regulations (i.e. business licensing, zoning).

* Is a Non-Profit Organization.

Tax exemptions will only be granted to organizations that are a Registered Charity or Non-Profit Organization. Non-profit organizations conducting retail and/or commercial activity and charging rates or fees at market value are considered to be in competition with for-profit businesses and may not be eligible for a full tax exemption.

For organizations which no longer qualify for a permissive tax exemption under the draft policy, it has been proposed to phase out their permissive tax exemption by 20% each year for five years. Statutory exemptions for schools, places of worship and hospitals will be required to apply for a tax exemption every 5 years. All other non-profit organizations will be required to apply annually.

The City wants to emphasize that consultation will be undertaken with all current permissive tax exemption recipients before any changes to the existing policy are adopted.

For more information, please contact:

Brian Carruthers - Chief Administrative Officer
The City of Williams Lake
Ph: 250-392-1763
Email - bcarruthers@williamslake.ca

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