The Town of Sylvan Lake denied the cancellation of tax penalties to a property owner who paid their property taxes one day late during the council meeting on Sept. 11.
Although administration thought the resident’s situation was unfortunate they suggested council not support the cancellation of penalties.
The concerned resident wrote to council asking for the late charge of $95.01 to be reversed as they were only one day late in paying their taxes.
“I went to pay my property taxes today, Aug. 1, 2023 and was assessed a late penalty fee of $95.01 because the due date was July 31, 2023,” the resident said.
As the resident had been in Ontario they didn’t realize the taxes were due until they got back and when they went to the Town office it was closed.
“I went online to see if I could make a payment but that was not possible because of the waiting period to have a new account registered,” they said.
The amount requested in the penalty was also noted to be a large sum for the resident.
“Being a semi-retired senior citizen, $95 is a lot of money to me and I respectfully request that the council grants an exception and reverse my late payment penalty.”
“Council participated in a well-rounded discussion on this item but ultimately denied the request as it was felt that it could be precedent setting,” Mayor Megan Hanson said.
There are many ways to pay taxes even if the individual is not in Town, Hanson added.
“The town provides many different options when it comes to submitting payment for property taxes, including online, which would eliminate the need to be in-person to settle any taxes owed.”
Each year the Finance department deals with requests for the reversal of penalties, communications officer Jared Waldo said.
“We usually get about three to five requests each year.”
The decision the Town made which administration recommended was the stated course of action outlined in the bylaw, Waldo said.
“If it can be shown that the Finance department has made an error or provided incorrect information, then penalties are reversed. For all other requests, the decision is referred to Council.”
At the end of the discussion, council directed administration to advise the property owner that the cancellation request was not granted.