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Burlington offers relief on late tax payments amid COVID-19 pandemic

Burlington approved relief for late property tax payments made to the city in April and May 2020.
Burlington approved relief for late property tax payments made to the city in April and May 2020. Don Mitchell / Global News

Residents in Burlington are getting property tax relief in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to city officials.

During a meeting on Monday, councillors voted unanimously in favour of waiving penalty and interest charges for those not able to make payments due in April and May.

READ MORE: City of Hamilton expected to approve tax deferral, mayor asks landlords to ‘exercise judgment’

The city says the move was in response to numerous concerns from both the business community and homeowners experiencing economic struggles amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“The temporary property tax relief will allow businesses and homeowners to make their April 21 installment by June 30 without incurring late payment charges,” Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said in a statement on Tuesday morning.

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Burlington’s temporary change means no penalties or administration fees will be charged for the April 21 installment and no month-end interest will be charged for all property owners in April and May.

Businesses and homeowners can now pay their April 21 tax installment on or before June 30 without charges.

Pre-Authorized tax payments will be withdrawn. The city suggests individuals on a preauthorized payment plan unable to make payment should temporarily suspend withdrawals from their account by
emailing pap@burlington.ca.

READ MORE: City Council offers tax relief while approving Hamilton’s 2020 operating budget

The city says notification must come three business days prior to the withdrawal date.

Taxpayers that sent a postdated cheque for the April 21 tax installment who can not pay will have to put a stop payment on the cheque at their bank.

Hamilton expected to approve property tax deferral on Wednesday 

Meanwhile, Hamilton will discuss its plan for property tax deferrals during a virtual city meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

Click to play video 'Inmates at some Ontario jails being released to stop the possible spread of COVID-19' Inmates at some Ontario jails being released to stop the possible spread of COVID-19
Inmates at some Ontario jails being released to stop the possible spread of COVID-19

Councillors will decide whether to approve a similar two-month tax deferral waiving penalties and interest for any unpaid tax installments for 60 days.

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Mayor Fred Eisenberger says those who can continue to pay their taxes should do so since the city “needs the cash flow.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: How to apply for the Ontario Government Support for Families initiative

Eisenberger says municipalities aren’t allowed to run a deficit and tax payments are needed to run the city amid a significant decline in transit and program revenues, as well as a major spike in COVID-19 related costs in terms of shelters, support for seniors and other areas.

The next tax installment for Hamilton, the second, was due for April 30, with the due date for the third installment at the end of June.

A number of municipalities across Ontario are offering similar deferred tax payments until June 30 including Oakville, West LincolnWellandWainfleetThoroldSt. CatharinesPort ColbornePelhamNiagara On The LakeNiagara FallsLincolnGrimsby, and Fort Erie.