Tax collection bylaw amendments pass

City council unanimously approved all three readings to complete some changes to the tax collection bylaw in Red Deer.

It was explained to council that the changes are minor, but that they align Red Deer’s bylaw with municipalities in the area as well as Calgary.

The bylaw is also being changed to ensure that Red Deer’s tax collection bylaw is in compliance with the Municipal Government Act and other provincial legislation.

The first of the two suggestions actually came through legal council to Revenue and Assessment Services regarding the placement of a definition section in the bylaw.

The definition section was recommended simply to provide clarity to anybody reading the bylaw. The second change was one that would alter the wording of when tax payments are due.

The current tax collection bylaw was last amended in 2001. Since that time the City has added supplementary assessment and taxation processes throughout the year, making the current bylaw due date void in some cases.

Before now, the wording in the bylaw stated that tax payments were due by June 30th. It has been suggested that this be replaced with a wording similar to “Due by the date shown on assessment.”

The reasoning behind changing this wording is simply to further lessen the confusion because not all tax notices are sent out in May. There are supplemental tax notices sent in July, September and November in response to growth and issued when necessary. This is why the wording was changed so that a due date can be set according to the mail-out date.

Most comparable municipalities as well as Calgary either do not refer to a due date, or have a similar wording to what has been suggested. The idea is simply to make operations smoother and to provide clarity to the public.

Councillor Chris Stephan was concerned about the way by which people can pay these taxes and whether or not they would only be able to do so during office hours.

However, there is a drop box for tax payments as well as being able to pay via phone or online. This is why, in the bylaw, there is a wording saying that midnight is the cut off point for payments.