If you live in Thornhill or the Terrace rural area, check your tax statement because you may be owed money due to a provincial government mistake even if it’s only a small amount.
Tax statements indicated, among the other items residents pay for, a charge for Hazelton Rural Fire Protection which was in error.
Thornhill resident Wilf Butters says he was charged $9 for the service and the provincial government said it didn’t refund amounts under $10.
“At the very least, make it a credit on next year’s taxes,” said Butters, who has lived in Thornhill for 12 years and in the regional district for 43 years.
A revised tax notice sent out by the provincial Surveyor of Taxes office said it “reflects a tax decrease because your property was incorrectly billed for Hazelton Rural Fire Protection. “The Surveyor of Taxes apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause . . . Credit balances over $100 will be refunded shortly. Credits under $100 will be applied to next year’s taxes with interest. Credits of $10 or less are not refunded,” it said.
Butters contacted the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine and got in touch with accountant Randy Musselman. In turn, Musselman contacted the Ministry of Finance, Property Taxation Branch asking if the people who had overpaid by less than $10 would lose the money or if it could be applied to next year’s taxes with interest.
The Property Taxation Branch of the provincial government replied saying that overpayments of $10 or more will remain on the account or will be refunded upon request.
“Credits of less than $10 are written off. It’s an automatic system thing that we are unable to stop. However, if a client wants their less than $10 credit [to] be refunded, we WILL honour their request,” it said in a reply to Musselman.
“You may let people know they can contact this office and request that refund. They can send a refund request to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-355-2700.”
Butters said he is waiting for his refund and wants other residents to know about it so that they can ask for their money back.
“A lot of people don’t know to ask, period. Some don’t even know about [the error],” said Butters.
Regional district treasurer Verna Wickie said many residents complained to the regional district about the incorrect charge.
She says the mistake can happen because the tax surveyor’s office deals with 27 regional districts in B.C.