Gov’t tackling unpaid municipal oil and gas taxes


Alberta’s government is issuing a new directive to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) to require oil and gas companies to pay taxes owed to municipalities.

Energy Minister Pete Guthrie is issuing a ministerial order under the Responsible Energy Development Act, requiring the AER to receive evidence that municipal taxes have been paid when approving licence transfers or new licences.

“While most companies pay their taxes regularly and on time, there are a few delinquent companies that owe overdue property taxes,” said Guthrie in a March 20 news release. “That is why we’re putting in place this ministerial order – to continue building on our recent work. Our goal is to reduce unpaid taxes throughout the province.”

The departments of Energy and Municipal Affairs have worked together on this directive. Companies will now have to confirm that their unpaid municipal taxes across the province do not exceed the maximum threshold allowed or that they have a repayment agreement in place whenever they apply for new licences or for licence transfers because they’re seeking to sell their assets.

The announcement comes as good news to the Rural Municipalities Association. Its president, Paul McLauchlin, says, “As 41 per cent of unpaid taxes are owed by companies that are currently operating, we are optimistic that this change will have an immediate positive impact in rural Alberta. We look forward to working with the AER and relevant ministries to determine how our members can support the AER in enforcing this new requirement.”

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