A provincial extension trumped the City of Trail’s municipal tax bylaw and absolved Teck of a half-million dollar tax penalty.
On Apr. 27, Trail council adopted Bylaw No. 2885, which extended its municipal property tax deadline from July 2 to Aug. 31 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
It was initially thought that Teck Trail was a day late in submitting a second payment of over $5.5 M in taxes owed, and was subject to a 10 per cent penalty.
However, on Aug. 14, the province had introduced its Economic Stabilization (COVID-19) Act, which further extended the property tax penalty deadline for major commercial properties within B.C. to Sept. 30, exonerating Teck and others of the penalty.
“The City of Trail determined that it will not collect the 10 per cent penalty associated with Teck’s second property tax payment,” read the city’s Oct. 15 news release. “In this unique circumstance, the provincial act overrides any municipal bylaw pertaining to 2020 commercial property tax deadlines and the associated penalty date.”
Notably, the provincial extension did not apply to residential properties, only to Class 4-Major Industry, Class 5-light industry, Class 6 – businesses, Class 7-Managed Forest Land, and Class 8-Recreational and non-profit properties.
“The city was unaware this particular act had shifted the penalty date forward for the previously mentioned commercial property tax classes. The city has been in communication with its legal counsel and Teck, and we can officially confirm the penalty has been reversed.”
The city also reversed penalties on other commercial properties, but reiterated that “If the province had not passed an act to extend the penalty deadline, the city would have been bound by provincial legislation to proceed with the prescribed 10 per cent penalty, with no exceptions possible.”
The city apologizes for any confusion, and thanks those who were impacted for their understanding.