Tax revolt? Unpaid taxes from energy companies to Alberta cities more than double

Alberta’s rural municipalities say the amount of unpaid property taxes owed by oil and gas companies has more than doubled in the past year.

The association says they owe a total of $173 million — an increase of 114 percent from last spring.

Years of low oil prices have left many small producers in trouble.

But state officials say recent court decisions have left them powerless to collect taxpayers’ money owed to them by financially troubled companies.

They also say the provincial government recently ended a program that gave them back the money lost by cutting taxes on certain types of wells.

Reeve Paul McLauchlin of Ponoka County, where unpaid taxes make up about 10 percent of total revenue, suggests the failure to pay amounts to a tax revolt by an industry seeking to cut costs where possible.

He says some of those taxes are owed by businesses that are still active and viable.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 20, 2020

The Canadian Press

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