Dieppe MLA and opposition finance critic Roger Melanson is asking the province to consider delaying the deadline for the payment of property taxes for at least 3 more months with no interest.
“We appreciate that the top priority of government is, and should be, to fight the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve. Protecting the health of New Brunswickers should be the top concern. Unfortunately, this means we are in an unprecedented situation where many people are struggling to make ends meet. Many businesses have closed or have major cash flow issues while they try to hang on, and many people have lost their jobs”.
A number of other jurisdictions across the country have implemented a deferral of property tax payments and a suspension of interest and penalties for late payments to help alleviate the situation.
Melanson believes that pushing back the deadline for the payment of property tax would be a welcome relief, and in many cases, could make the difference as to whether businesses are able to survive the pandemic.
“Government won’t be losing property tax revenues- they will just be delayed a few months”, said Melanson.
Tracadie MLA Keith Chiasson and opposition local government critic agrees. He is hearing from many businesses in his region that are struggling and for many of them, property tax is a significant cash payment at a time when they are desperately trying to save their businesses.
“They are hurting and delaying their property tax payments could help them get through this”.
Chiasson also points out that unlike residential property tax payers, businesses do not have the option to pay their property taxes using a monthly payment system.
“Businesses can’t make monthly property tax payments so they are forced to pay their property tax bills in full when they are due. This may cause a cash crunch for many businesses. Perhaps government could also consider some sort of equalized billing to give people more options to spread out the tax payments.”
Both MLAs believe that many residential property owners are also feeling the impact of the pandemic and that the deadline for these payments should also be delayed.