Yesterday, Hamilton City Council approved the implementation of a temporary Property Tax Assistance Program to help ease the financial impacts on Hamilton taxpayers due to COVID-19. While 2020 property tax instalment due dates remain unchanged, the City is offering some flexibility on penalties and interest for those who are not able to pay by the April and June due dates.
City Council also today approved a new by-law that will allow the City’s Municipal Law Enforcement (MLE) staff to officially promote and regulate physical distancing during the COVID-19 emergency. Property Tax Assistance Program
The Property Tax Assistance Program will see penalties and interest for unpaid 2020 Property Tax Instalments waived as follows:
• The 2020 Interim Property Tax Instalment due on April 30th – penalty and interest charges will be waived for a period of 60 days. o Taxpayers who are not able to make a payment by the due date of April 30th, will not be charged penalty and interest in May or June on late payments. If the April 30th instalment is not paid by June 30th, it will be subject to penalty and interest starting July 1st. Waiving of penalty and interest is only applicable to this instalment amount, not prior arrears. • The 2020 Final Property Tax Instalment due on June 30th – penalty will be waived for a period of 30 days. o Taxpayers who are not able to make a payment by the due date of June 30th, will not be charged penalties in July on late payments. If the June 30th instalment is not paid by July 31st, it will be subject to penalty and interest starting August 1st. Waiving of penalty and interest is only applicable to this instalment amount, not prior arrears. • The 2020 Final Property Tax Instalment due on September 30th – penalty and interest charges will not be waived, at this time. • Taxpayers currently enrolled in a pre-authorized payment plan, withdrawals will continue as per your respective plan. The City will waive the administrative fee for any returned payments, effective immediately and up to July 31, 2020. The waiving of the administrative fee for returned payments will also apply to returned cheques and other non-property tax payments. • The City will also be waiving any penalty and interest charges related to charges added to the tax roll (for example water arrears, property standards, etc.) until July 31, 2020. Any related taxation administrative fee to add charges to the tax roll will also be waived during this same time period. While Hamilton City Hall and Municipal Service Centres, continue to be closed to the public, there are a number of convenient options available for residents looking to continue to pay their property taxes during this time.
By-law to promote and regulate physical distancing during the COVID-19 emergency: The Medical Officer of Health has recommended physical distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including maintaining a distance of at least two metres from other individuals who are not members of the same household. Since the Province of Ontario declared a state of emergency on March 17, 2020, the province granted power to municipal law enforcement officers to enforce Orders issued by the Province under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. To protect the health, safety and well-being of residents and visitors to the City of Hamilton, today, Hamilton City Council has enacted a new Physical Distancing by-law to prohibit certain activities and regulate physical distancing during the COVID-19 Emergency. City of Hamilton By-law Officers are using a progressive enforcement approach to help residents understand the requirements of this order. However, the fine for individuals is $500 and this may increase to $10,000 for a serious offence and up to $25,000 for repeat offences. Corporations may receive a fine of up to $50,000 for a first serious offence and up to $100,000 for repeat offences.