The City of Burnaby has rejected a request from the board of directors of a collection of non-profit and charity seniors’ homes to reverse $14,000 in penalties stemming from them being late paying their property taxes.
A Feb. 12 letter was sent to the city on behalf of the board for the Swedish Canadian Village, which operates three properties on Duthie and Halifax streets in North Burnaby, including subsidized housing and assisted-living services. The letter says they serve more than 200 residents.
Due to a “mailing error,” the $145,000 in property taxes for the properties were not paid on time, leading to the penalties.
The letter claims that the city changed the mailing address for property tax payments. The letter also says their accountant was frequently working from home and had to deal with an additional burden due to additional information demands from various levels of government stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is understandable how he erred in sending the property tax payment to the previous tax address,” says the letter. “These were and are desperate times, which resulted in three deaths at Swedish Canadian Village.”
The letter is listed in the agenda package for the city’s financial management committee. A city staff note that goes with the letter denies that the city’s mailing address for property tax payments has changed.
“A response has been provided to the Swedish Canadian Rest Home Association stating that, in accordance with the legislation, there is no exemption from a penalty due to a mailing error,” says the note. “The current property tax system treats all taxpayers fairly and equitably in its administration. The mailing address has not changed for the City of Burnaby property tax payments.”