City to discuss permissive tax exemptions for qualified property

The Immaculata Hall addition when it first opened in 2012.

Fort St. John’s city council will be debating and revising a request for direction regarding permissive tax exemptions on select properties in the city.

The issue has been debated for a number of years, and now appears before the council for a decision to be made.

Tax exemptions are not forgiven taxes, but rather taxes that are transferred to other taxpayers – the same amount in taxes is paid. They can be helpful for non-profit organizations that support the community in other ways, such as housing at-risk youth.

Exemptions would be applicable to properties who are:

  • Non-profit groups that provide important local services to disadvantaged segments of the community.
  • Heritage properties, as they are seen as important to the community’s character, and can be a development tool to attract new residents and businesses. Š
  • A municipality interested in delivering services through partnerships may wish to provide exemptions to its private or non-profit partners.

Within the fees and charges bylaw, youth non-profit have a 75% subsidy, adult non-profit have a 50% subsidy, private organizations have 25% subsidy, and seniors (for programs and is defined 65 of older) have 75% subsidy.

To be considered a youth non-profit, the membership must be at least 75% under 18. Adult non-profits don’t have to meet this 75%. Churches are considered adult non-profit, so they have a 50% subsidy.

So far, council has received three applications for exemption for the 2016 taxation year, from United Pentecostal Church, Catholic Church for the Immaculata Hall, and Š Pure North Foundation.

These applications will be dealt with under separate reports at the September 14 council meeting.