Just over a month after the County of Wetaskiwin received a letter from the Government of Alberta stating a cross-ministry working group was exploring ways to address the issue of uncollectable requisition taxes, municipalities across the province will soon see relief action.
On Nov. 14 Minister of Municipal Affairs Shaye Anderson announced the inception of the Provincial Education Requisition Credit (PERC) program.
PERC will be retroactive to 2015 and will operate until 2019.
Municipalities are mandated to collect the School Tax Requisition and Seniors Housing Requisition taxes. However, when those taxes cannot be collected from the companies, municipalities are left having to pick up that debt.
Municipalities that have written off the municipal property tax for oil and gas facilities will be eligible to apply for a credit on the education component of their property tax.
A Government of Alberta announcement explains oil and gas facilities are taxed until there is an abandoned status on the records of the Alberta Energy Regulator. Once abandoned, no assessment is prepared; this process can take several years.
“This is certainly going to be helpful. It’ll rectify any taxes that have not been collected from companies that have gone into receivership,” said County of Wetaskiwin assistant CAO Rod Hawken.
“I heard loud and clear during my visits to rural communities this summer that they are facing tax recovery challenges. So we made this a priority and worked with the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties to come up with this solution. I am proud that we are able to make a difference and support municipalities,” said Anderson.
“The AAMDC is very appreciative of Minister Anderson and his cabinet colleagues, listening to municipalities about this challenge. Having to pay education tax to the government that couldn’t be collected has created significant financial challenges for our members. With the government’s support, municipalities can now focus on other matters, as we look forward to the long term solution to this issue,” added Al Kemmere, president of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties.