taxes 

Tax penalties now in two stages Late payment of property taxes won’t be quite so expensive in the future — providing payments aren’t too late. The municipality imposes a 10 per cent penalty on unpaid taxes as of the close of business on the tax due date. This year the municipality received 235 tax payments the week following the July 2, 1995 deadline, which resulted in more than $56,000 in penalties. Of this, $39,000 in penalties was assessed to payments received the day after the deadline. Most of the taxpayers thought they had mailed their payments early enough that they would meet the deadline. Many were unaware they were being assessed penalties until two months later, when they received notices of outstanding taxes. Finance Director Drew Stotesbury says that under the Municipal Act the only leeway the municipality can provide for well-intentioned taxpayers is to set two dates for penalties. The municipality's new policy will be to impose an immediate 2 per cent penalty on the tax due date (July 2), followed by an additional 8 per cent penalty on payments received July 10 and thereafter. Meanwhile, 2.7 per cent is the figure the municipality will be using to prepare budgets — and taxes — this year. The consumer price index for Greater Vancouver has been the benchmark for the budgeting process, and the CPI for Vancouver for the 12 months ending Aug. 31, 1995 was 2.7 per cent. That means taxes will likely increase 2.7 per cent this year. Councillor Dave Kirk questioned whether a 2.7 per cent increase in taxes was necessary given the rate of growth in Whistler. Stotesbury replied that the capital review to buildout assumes a CPI increase each year, and therefore to forego the increase could affect municipal budgets down the road. Tax assessments this year did not include the CPI increase because the rate of growth created so much additional revenue. However, when it was announced that the CPI would not be added to this year's tax bills it was noted it would be a one-time-only omission.

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