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City sends wrong tax notice

Penticton property owners are being asked to check the mail for amended property tax notices, after an administrative error was discovered on the 2014 property tax notices distributed earlier this month.

The 2014 property tax calculations included the incorrect school district, Okanagan Similkameen District 53, not Okanagan Skaha District 67.

This impacts the total tax rate charged to property owners, and tax bills were higher than they should have been. Taxpayers are required to pay less than originally indicated, and some who have already paid are eligible for rebates.

"We sincerely apologize to affected property owners for the error and regret any inconvenience or confusion this may cause," said Colin Fisher, chief financial officer. "It is critical that property owners be charged only the amount necessary, and the City's Revenue Services team is working swiftly to correct the error for all our customers."

Communications officer Simone Blais said the matter came to the city's attention last night, when a resident caught the glitch on their bill.

Then first thing Wednesday morning, staff started looking at it.

She did not know how much the average household was overcharged, but said overall people coming in were quite happy when they learned the recalculated amount would be less.

Amended notices will be mailed out as soon as possible, and property tax owners are asked to refer to the amended tax notice only for the correct amount.

Those who come to the front counter in the interim will have their taxes recalculated automatically.

People who use MyCity to claim their Provincial Home Owner Grant are asked to check the welcome screen message for information. E-bill customers using the MyCity online tax notice portal are asked to use the most recent tax notice dated June 11.

Property owners had mixed reactions to the error.

"It's unfortunate that they are going to have to redo all those, because that will be passed on to the taxpayer," said Jan, a resident who declined to give her last name. "So it's yay for less of a bill, but still too bad the mistake was made and not caught before they were printed and mailed out."

A man, who gave his name as Sean, said "the whole thing was just unreal and very confusing."

For those who have already paid, staff will be personally calling property owners to inform them of their rebate options. These include giving the individual a refund or crediting their account with the difference for 2015.

People who still have questions can call, (250) 490-2485 or email [email protected]

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