Half of Hinton taxes deferred in 2020

Masha Scheele
Local Journalism Initiative

Around 25 per cent of municipal taxes were collected by June 30 this year, when taxes are normally due, as opposed to 60 per cent in 2019.

The remaining 75 per cent of outstanding taxation, which adds up to $11million, were either deferred or part of Hinton’s monthly payment plans.

“From this data we would conclude that a total of 54 per cent of our residents and non-residents chose to defer taxation payments this year,” said Carla Fox, Hinton’s corporate services director.

Some of the outstanding taxes, around 15 per cent, are part of payment plans. Removing the payment plans from the equation means that roughly 60 per cent (or $9,000,000) of the outstanding taxation were deferments.

In addition, roughly three per cent of utility customers deferred payments beyond July 1. Residents who deferred payments were required to pay by Aug. 31.

Beyond Aug. 31, roughly 25 per cent (or $3.6M) of taxation in the Town of Hinton remains collectable. Of that $3.6 million, around 75 per cent ($2.7 million) are on payment plan payments, meaning around $900,000 in taxes were left without payment after Aug. 31.

“So there is an amount expected and planned for through payment plans outstanding, but there is also an outstanding amount not anticipated through payment plans currently – though an owner could speak with us to start a payment plan to make up the amounts and penalties,” explained Josh Yaworski, communications coordinator.

Payment plans are not referred to as deferments, but are still part of the calculation relating to outstanding taxes as they continue to make payments each month of the year until December.

“In 2019, of the $3.4M outstanding after Sept. 1, approximately 83 per cent were anticipated payment plan payments,” said Fox.

This would mean that the number of unpaid taxes increased by approximately eight per cent compared to last year.

Hinton council made the decision to extend the deadline for payment of 2020 property taxes from June 30 to Aug. 31 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The decision to move back the tax deadline was made during a special council meeting on April 7.

Bills were sent out as scheduled, but residents could choose to defer their payments to a later date. Additionally, Town utility payments were deferred for a period of 120 days covering the billings for April, May, June and July 2020 including the cancellation of any associated penalties.

Penalties on outstanding tax and utility amounts will be charged after Aug. 31. 

Normally, a nine per cent penalty is applied to the outstanding balance of the current taxes once the due date has surpassed. 

At a later date, a six per cent penalty is applied, followed by a 15 per cent penalty.