Big Lakes County gets relief on uncollectable education tax

Richard Froese
For the Lakeside Leader

Big Lakes County welcomes news that the province will provide a tax credit for uncollectable taxes on oil and gas properties.
“It’s very good that the government is going to do something about it,” says reeve Ken Matthews. “It’s something the government should have been doing for years.”
Matthews heard the good news from Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs Shaye Anderson during the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) fall convention Nov. 14 – 17 in Edmonton.
“For a majority of rural municipalities, it’s been a burden for a long time and they brought it forward to the government,” Matthews says.
In a news release, Minister Anderson said he’d been hearing about the tax recovery challenges municipalities have been facing.
“So we made this a priority and worked with the association to come up with a solution,” he said.
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.
Municipalities collect education taxes on behalf of the province, through their property tax systems. Oil and gas facilities are taxed until there is an ‘abandoned’ status on the records of the Alberta Energy Regulator. Once abandoned, no assessment on the property is prepared. The process can take several years, and in the meantime, the municipality is required to remit education taxes on those properties, even though they may not be collecting any.
The Provincial Education Requisition Credit will be retroactive to 2015, when oil prices began to fall, and will continue to 2019. Tax relief has been capped at $10 million per year.
“The AAMDC is very appreciative of Minister Anderson and his cabinet colleagues,” says AAMDC president Al Kemmere. “Having to pay education tax to the government that couldn’t be collected has created significant financial challenges for our members.”
Kemmere added, “With the government’s support, municipalities can now focus on other matters, as we look forward to the long-term solution to this issue.”
The first deadline for applications is Jan. 15, 2018.

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