Rural Small Businesses Receiving Tax Break Through New Classification

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Rural Small Businesses Receiving Tax Break Through New Classification

Rural small businesses are getting a break in their municipal taxes.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, Councillor Jane Stroud brought forward a motion to have these businesses avoid paying the same as Industry.

Before, the two had fallen under the same category – rural non-residential.

Eligible businesses will now be part of a sub-class which will see a 25 per cent decrease in their municipal tax rate for 2018.

Stroud tells Fort McMurray News this will hopefully attract more stores and people to the rural hamlets.

“It would be such a pleasure to see stores in those communities to give them those needs that they require to have a better quality of life.”

Besides business owners, Stroud says every person living in these areas have to deal with the consequences of these taxes.

In Conklin, residents have to drive around 150 km to Lac La Biche or Fort McMurray to get fresh milk, meat, and other items because the high taxes scare off potential businesses.

Under the same tax class as Industry, these owners were paying around 375 per cent more than those living in the urban sector.

It now sits at 180 per cent.

“I know that figure seems quite large but it is bringing it down, they will definitely see a reduction in their taxes.”

The Rural Coalition, which represents each hamlet in the RMWB, simply said this was a ‘huge win.’

To be eligible for the 25 per cent reduction, they must have a municipal business licence as of Dec. 31, 2017, and have fewer than 50 employees.

Meanwhile, Industry and businesses who don’t meet the sub-class requirements will get 16 per cent reduction.

As for people living in Fort McMurray, they can possibly see a dip in these taxes despite a three per cent increase in their rate.

Regional Assessor Philip Schofield says it all depends on their property assessment – if it increased or decreased by three percent – but some could save $20 in their municipal taxes, $126 when combined with the education tax.

Rural residents will see an increase of five per cent in their tax rate but could see a combined reduction of $9 – once again depending on their assessment.
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