VANCOUVER City Council on Tuesday night approved a delay in the 2020 payment deadline for both residential and commercial property taxes. The new tax payment deadline is September 30, moved from July 3.
The decision follows measures announced by the Province on April 16, including a mandated delay in the penalty date for commercial tax payers to October 1, along with a reduction in school tax payments for these property owners (which includes industrial, business, recreation and non-profit properties).
Under the Vancouver Charter, Vancouver’s tax payment and penalty dates must be aligned; under the Community Charter, some municipalities may choose to maintain the existing July payment date while extending their penalty dates.
“COVID-19 has put a lot of strain on the finances of residents and business owners as well as the City itself. That’s why I’m glad Council supported offering a delayed property tax payment deadline,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “Combined with a business tax cut made possible by lower Provincial school taxes, these measures will help reduce financial stress while helping us maintain essential public services we all need to help propel Vancouver into recovery.”
Vancouver’s property tax statements for 2020 will be mailed out by June and taxes can be paid at any time once the statement has been received. Late payment penalties will take effect on October 1 for any property taxes not paid by September 30.
“We hope the delay in the final payment deadline for both residential and commercial property owners will help those experiencing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chief Financial Officer Patrice Impey. “However, property taxes are a major source of revenue for the City and fund the services that are important to residents and businesses, so we encourage people to pay their property taxes when they can after they receive their notices.”
Throughout the City’s response to COVID-19, it says it has been assessing the impacts on the community and on its ability to fund the much-needed services which it provides. The City is experiencing significant revenue shortfalls and additional costs related to the COVID-19 response, creating an estimated 2020 budget deficit of $60 to $190 million.
The City has already taken a series of actions towards balancing the budget in the face of these significant reductions in revenue. These include:
· issuing temporary layoff notices to 1,800 unionized staff
· a mandatory furlough for all management and other non-union staff equivalent to a 10 per cent pay reduction, no cost of living increase for 2020 and delays in merit increases
· restricting new hiring
· reviewing the 2019-2022 capital plan and reassessing the 2020 capital budget
· reducing discretionary spending costs wherever possible
· using the City’s stabilization reserve to temporarily offset a portion of the budget shortfall.
At the April 14 meeting, Council requested provincial support to provide operating grants to the City to fund public safety and essential City services in light of the significant revenue shortfall. Without financial support from other levels of government, the City may need to consider further service cuts and additional staff layoffs. City staff continue to advocate with both the Provincial and Federal governments.
The City says it entered these uncertain times in a strong financial position with healthy liquidity and reserves, strong fiscal management, and low debt burden which are reflected in the City’s AAA/Aaa credit ratings.
Ensuring the current and future well-being and prosperity of residents and businesses is a top priority. Visit the City’s COVID-19 webpage for the latest information on its actions and support available from federal, provincial and local governments, as well as other organizations.