Town revises tax relief policy

Thanks to the new Municipal Act, more local charitable organizations under the Income Tax Act may apply for up to 40 percent property tax relief.
“The tax rebate program was previously in place but it was really narrow in its use,” CAO BIll Naturkach said Thursday morning.
“Because groups like the curling club and the Visserettes came to us, the town has expanded that,” he added.
Before council passed the bylaw, any organizations that met the criteria under the Income Tax Act as a “charitable organization” was eligible to fill out an application and receive up to 40 percent of a tax rebate.
But under the new act, council now can authorize rebates up to 100 percent and open the criteria up to “similar” charitable organizations—meaning charities that might not have qualified before also could get the relief.
Administration contacted other municipalities as to what they were doing and settled on the 40 percent rebate figure, as in previous years.
“It’s not a flat 40 percent rebate. You still have to qualify, with a purpose and a mandate,” noted Naturkach.
The bylaw will allow council to pass resolutions each year to include “similar” organizations and to include “other than commercial properties.”
The Visserettes, Fort Frances Curling Club, and Sunset Country Snowmobile Club are among the organizations now accepted under the tax rebate program.
While the Royal Canadian Legion receives a 100 percent rebate for municipal taxes right now, it could be included under the tax rebate program after 2004 when the 10-year period it’s currently enjoying under a bylaw elapses.
The administration and finance committee also has recommend council to adjust the 2002 budget to reflect an expenditure of $20,500 for purposes of tax relief.
For any interested charities, applications are available at the front desk at the Civic Centre. Applications for 2001 may be made up to February, 2002.