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