The 2020 deadline to pay property taxes in the territory is looming with Sept. 2 marking the final date to pay before penalties are incurred.
Property taxes were originally due July 2, as is the case in communities throughout the territory every year, but Community Services Minister John Streicker signed a ministerial order in April under the Civil Emergency Measures Act so that all Yukon municipalities could extend their 2020 property tax deadlines to Sept. 2 due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. The change also applied to any Local Improvement Charges property owners owed.
The move followed the actions of several jurisdictions across the country for a 60-day extension to property tax deadlines to help property owners during the pandemic.
At that time, Streicker said it was hoped the extension would provide “some breathing room” to those who would need it.
It was an issue that had come up for weeks ahead of the announcement at Whitehorse city council meetings as officials looked at how to address the financial impacts of COVID-19 facing residents. While the city was able to extend payment deadlines on utility bills and other city fees, municipal property tax payments and deadlines fall under the territory’s tax act and therefore require the Yukon government to change any deadlines.
The territory worked with chief administrative officers and managers in communities, the Association of Yukon Communities and the territory’s business advisory council in coming up with the tax deadline extension.
Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis said he was pleased the deadline extension could help those impacted financially by COVID, but also noted the decision was “not without consequences” as municipalities rely on their tax base to continue providing services to its citizens.
It was expected there would enough tax payments by the July 2 deadline that operations would not be impacted, though Streicker also said community services would work with municipalities throughout the territory if any such issues came up for communities.
A 10 per cent penalty will be applied to any unpaid taxes as of Sept. 3.
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