Kelowna city staff are asking council to approve a change to the two-tier penalty applied to residents who do not pay their property taxes on time. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Kelowna ends two-tier tax paying penalty

Council approved a 10 per cent penalty for those who don’t pay their property taxes on time

The City of Kelowna is changing the break it gives tardy taxpayers.

On Monday, council approved city staff’s recommended change to a single 10 per cent penalty on late property taxes to be paid in July rather than the current system which sees two five per cent penalties paid in July and August. This brings the city in line with other municipalities in the B.C. Interior.

Under provincial law, municipalities in B.C. have the choice to use the two penalty system or one 10 per cent fine.

“The split-penalty, two due-date structure is administratively costly,” says the report. “Taxpayers of Kelowna have a proven record of paying on time, with 90 per cent of taxpayers paying by the first (July) due date and another four per cent paying by the second (August) due date.”

Adjusting the penalty to a single due-date offers efficiency and cost savings in both staff time and printing and postage costs, says the report. Those savings could be used on other city services.

Staff added the change could also increase the number of property owners who pay their taxes on time each year.

Coun. Gail Given said she’s happy to be getting on the same page as other municipalities.

“This streamlining processes,” she said. “It’s clear this is the process carried out in other communities. It’s a natural next step.”

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