On top of the regular fees for property taxes, parking fines and traffic tickets, Calgarians are spending millions of dollars annually on late fees.
For 2012, the City of Calgary is anticipating collecting roughly $7.9 million in penalties from property owners who pay their taxes late.
While it’s additional money into the city’s revenue pot, Ald. Gord Lowe said those who pay on time are subsidizing those who pay late.
“We set our budget and we start spending the first of January so we borrow against that until we get the property taxes in,” he said. “You can equate it to a line of credit. When people are late, we pay interest on that and those of us that pay our taxes on time are paying that.”
Of the approximately 280,000 tags issued annually by the Calgary Parking Authority, 41 per cent are paid within 10 days at $40, 16 per cent are paid in less than 30 days at $50 and 41 per cent are paid after 30 days at a cost of $75.
“The annual revenue from enforcement is approximately $13.4 million,” said CPA manager Troy McLeod. “It could be concluded that of 41 per cent who pay their tickets after 30 days, an additional $4 million is associated with these tags compared with those paid within 10 days at $40.”
Between April 2010 and March 2011, Alberta Justice issued 1.6 million Traffic Safety Act tickets, according to spokesperson Julie Siddons.
Of those, 687,512 went to conviction in absence, meaning the individual did not respond to them appropriately.
Each ticket carries a late payment fee of $20 or 20 per cent of the total fine ‘ whichever is greater.
If it’s assumed each ticket was given the minimum overdue fine of $20, that would equate to roughly $13.75 million in late fees alone.
“It’s a significant amount that is owed to the province and municipalities, and that’s why we collect it,” said Julie Siddons.
Ald. Brian Pincott said he wasn’t surprised by the amount being paid in overdue payments.
“The reason to have late fees is because you actually don’t want to collect them. It’s to entice people to pay fines…. in a timely manner,” he said. “It’s just a reflection of human nature, the fact that we all put stuff off until the last minute.”
- With files from Jeremy Nolais