Tax Arrears

Tax Arrears

Realty tax accounts form the largest portion of the City’s revenue: 75% of all the City’s funds come from residential and commercial tax. This is our main source to fund the essentials: from garbage collection to snow clearing; from recreation to programming and events.

  • In 2016, 97.5% of all taxes billed for the year were collected within the year.
  • In 2016, the total amount of arrears for the period 2015 and prior was reduced by approximately 24.6%.
  Accounts   Owing    %
Total Realty Tax Revenue 45,066   $206,768,627.67 100%
Total accounts owing December 31, 2016  3,593     $18,507,779.59 0.8%
Adjustment for vacancy allowance and
commercial amounts collected Jan. 2017
      -$4,654,206.51  
Total adjusted owing as of Dec. 31, 2016      $13,853,573.08  

CLICK HERE TO SEE A SUMMARY OF ALL TAXES OWING FOR THE CURRENT AND PREVIOUS YEAR.

Property Tax Accounts in Arrears over $10,000

  Accounts Owing
Total accounts in arrears December 31, 2016 373   $14,491,885.08
Total accounts in arrears January 31, 2017 226   $10,757,896.65

Property Tax Accounts in Arrears over $100,000

  Accounts Owing
Total accounts in arrears December 31, 2016 21   $6,321,426.07
Total accounts in arrears January 31, 2017 18   $5,757,663.02

Understanding Liens and Arrears

  • The tax bill is due upon receipt. That said, accounts in arrears are not all considered to be delinquent accounts. For example, many residential property owners do not pay until just before interest is applied, or they pay in post-dated cheques.
  • Unpaid taxes form a lien; if a residential property owner gets their January bill and provides two cheques for the end of January and end of February, technically a lien exists for the unpaid taxes until the cheque dated for the end of February clears the bank.
  • Business realty is billed in arrears so technically all commercial properties would be subject to liens.
  • Interest is 1.25% per month compounded monthly.

City Tax Collection Efforts

  • Our tax collectors work with individuals and businesses who are in arrears to develop suitable payment arrangements.
  • Municipal tax accounts which are deemed to be delinquent due to substantial financial hardship may be referred to the Payment Review Board for special considerations.
  • When arrangements cannot be made, the City is forced to use a variety of means to collect taxes owed, ranging from demand letters to water discontinuation notices to legal action, including statements of claim.
  • Numerous water discontinuation letters are issued annually and the City will cut water to residential and commercial properties based on the individual circumstances of each account.  The City will not cut off water in the winter months, and of course this action can only be applied to properties with structures and services.
  • As a last resort, property accounts which remain unpaid are referred for tax sale. Tax sale of property is limited to non-owner occupied property. The only resort for owner occupied property is referral to an outside collection agency and possible suit through the courts.
  • The last tax sale was held in 2015.The City intends to hold a tax sale in 2017 but the number of properties that will be auctioned depends on various factors. Some tax accounts will be resolved through the tax sale process prior to auction taking place, some will be removed from the list if legal issues arise that prevent a tax sale occurring at that time and the remainder will go to auction.