Pre-authorized monthly tax payments may help residents struggling in Perth

The Town of Perth will create a new bylaw to establish and document fair and equitable processes for billing and collecting property taxes, and how payments on those tax accounts will be applied. Photo credit: Submitted.
Posted on: June 11, 2024


For those who struggle to pay property taxes in Perth with the fear of losing one’s home, a better option may be to pay on a monthly basis. 

During a regular committee of the whole meeting on June 4, director of corporate services, said they will be hosting an information clinic at the end of July. 

This will come on the heels of a new bylaw to establish and document fair and equitable processes for billing and collecting property taxes and how payments on those tax accounts will be applied. The proposed bylaw reflects current practices and related legislation with the exception of the tax sale process. 

The clinic will inform residents about the benefits of paying their taxes on a monthly basis, on a pre-authorized plan, Brian Burns, the town’s director of corporate services, noted. 

“The talk will also help avoid some of these things coming to fruition,” he said. 

Perth currently follows a three-year registration regime for tax sale of properties. The Municipal Act allows municipalities may sell a property to recover unpaid taxes after two years. 

The report to council states that it is expected that reducing the time to two years to register a property for tax sale will result in more effective tax collection results. Initiating the tax sale process one year earlier will reduce the amount to be recovered, making the chances of recovering the amounts owing and entering into a reasonable payment plan easier.

As of May 31, 2024, there is currently one property in the tax sale process. There would have been 33 additional properties for which the tax sale process would be initiated under a two-year regime as at January 1, 2024; however, as a phase-in, staff propose deferring taking any action until

January 1, 2025. (As of June, that number was down to 17.)

Coun. Isabel Anne McRae asked what staff is doing to inform property owners about this process.

Notices have been sent out to the affected property owners so that they may set up a payment plan, Shannon Summers, deputy treasurer and tax collector for the Town of Perth, said. 

Coun. Jim Boldt said one message he doesn’t want to be sent to taxpayers is that if they don’t pay their taxes, they’ll be tossed out of their home and the property will be sold for tax arrears. 

“I don’t want it to be looked at that way,” he said. “We live in troubled times. We all know that and it’s getting tougher and tougher. I don’t want us to get tougher on the taxpayer.”

Boldt said they should be working with them on their payment plans and “with as much fairness as we can. I think that’s really important to be successful in dealing with the public tax issue.”

Summers said they’re currently working with the affected residents. 

“It will actually benefit the property owners to go down to two years,” she said. “Our end process is not to put people into tax sales, it’s to work with the property owners,” to get them caught up on their taxes.

Coun. Gary Waterfield said he agreed with this “appropriate transition” with the creation of a new bylaw, noting that communication is critical with property owners. 

Council voted unanimously to create a bylaw to adopt a property tax collection policy. 

(Watch the town’s social channels for more on the tax clinic date as it approaches.)

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News