Concerns with people paying bills at City Hall with a big wad of cash are prompting change in municipalities across B.C. but Kelowna’s not fussed, just yet.
“We have a low risk factor,” said Angie Schumacher, the City of Kelowna’s revenue supervisor.
“Out of the 57,000-plus property rolls, there were five occurrences of over $10,000 cash payments (for taxes), with one of those being for multiple properties.”
Schumacher said city staff are aware of what other municipalities are doing and are continually reevaluating their own processes, but due to the low number of large cash payments, it’s not been flagged as a cause for concern.
Abbotsford on the other hand is taking a more serious view of the issue. It has a slightly larger population than Kelowna, and twice the number of people paying property taxes more than $10,000.
According to the Abbotsford News, Abbotsford city staff are developing a policy to guide how such payments are dealt with in the future.
Cities around the Lower Mainland have been exploring the topic due to concerns that large cash payments could be linked to criminal enterprises and money laundering. The issue was highlighted in January when a Vancouver councillor expressed concern about “bags” of cash being used to pay property taxes.
The City of Vancouver subsequently announced in a press release it would no longer be accepting payments more than $10,000 to align with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre reporting requirements for identifying and tracking money laundering. Last year it received 19 cash payments exceeding $10,000, for anything from taxes to fines.
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