City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Councillors, with the exception of Dan Boyd acting as deputy mayor, and the mayor participated in the meeting by phone. On March 30 City of Whitehorse officials are continued to ask the Yukon government about the possibility of extending the deadline for property tax payments. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Whitehorse city council raises possibility of extending property tax deadline

Issue falls under Yukon’s tax act

City of Whitehorse officials are continuing to ask the Yukon government about the possibility of extending the deadline for property tax payments.

The move comes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has seen emergency measures put in place in the Yukon and across the country, resulting in many businesses closing their doors or greatly reducing services with staff laid off.

At Whitehorse city council’s March 30 meeting, Coun. Samson Hartland questioned city manager Linda Rapp about discussions with the territory on the possibility of extending the tax deadline, noting he has heard from a number of residents and business owners concerned about the situation.

The deadline for property tax payments (the first business day following Canada Day) is mandated by the territory’s Tax Act with municipalities therefore having to go to the Yukon government for any changes to be made to the payment due date.

Rapp told council she had spoken the Yukon government officials earlier in the day. While they did not have any answers for her at that point, there was a commitment to follow up on the issue, she said.

Rapp added she’s requested a response within a week as the city works on getting tax notices ready to be sent to Whitehorse property owners.

“Ideally we’d like to include the most relevant information,” she said.

Coun. Laura Cabott questioned what other jurisdictions are doing to address property taxes in light of the COVID-19 situation. Valerie Braga, the city’s director of corporate services, responded the city has not looked at other jurisdictions because the territory’s Tax Act is “very prescriptive” in outlining how Yukon municipalities must collect taxes, by what dates and what penalties will be incurred if payment is not made by a certain date.

“Right now we’re working with the Yukon government as lead,” Braga said.

The News reached out to the Yukon government but did not receive any answers by deadline.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Property taxesWhitehorse city council

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