Postmark not proof of payment for taxes

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Kamloops city council followed a staff recommendation today and decided to not accept the postmarked date on tax payments as an acceptable proof of payment.

The option came before council and Coun. Tina Lange said heading into the meeting she thought accepting postmarks would be a great way to work with the public.

“When I first saw it, I was all for it. I didn't take in to account the difficulty,” for staff in reading and verifying the postmarks, she said.

Lange said she would agree with staff in not accepting postmarks as proof of payment simply because of the amount of work involved, not based on the revenue from penalties. Revenue and taxation manager Marlie Worrin noted allowing postmarks would result in a loss of penalty revenue, which totaled $554,000 in 2012.

Worrin said many envelopes are received with no postmark, with illegible postmarks and sometimes are even received months after the due date. In order to avoid penalties tax payments must be made in full by the due date - July 2 this year.

She researched other communities to see how other B.C. Municipalities treat postmarks and only five of the 14 reviewed accept postmarks, and two may revert back to not accepting them because of the work involved, she said.

Of the approximate 35,000 tax notices sent out less than a handful dispute they have sent it in on time through mail, though close to 1,000 do use mail to submit payment. Another 8,000 submit through the tax installment program (TIPS) and many use electronic banking.

To contact a reporter for this story, email or call (250) 819-3723.

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