May have Revenue Canada solution after months of dead-ends

Written by Stu Salkeld

The Village of Alix may see some tax-relief light at the end of its Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) tunnel after it was revealed a problem with writs on tax arrears property may be resolved. The CRA issue was discussed at the Oct. 5 regular meeting of council.

Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White reported on the municipality’s efforts to find a person or department at the CRA that could provide advice on properties in local tax arrears that also have a federal writ placed on them.

“The village took possession of Lot 15a Block 1 Plan 6146RS under tax forfeiture and council made a resolution to sell the property after taking possession,” stated the CAO in her report to council, noting this was the first of two properties the village was having a CRA problem with.

“September 13 2022 a tax recovery sale was held for Lot A Plan 4677RS,” she noted, adding this was the second property. “The property did not sell at that time and the village did not take possession due to the CRA writs registered on title.

“Administration has been working on this matter since mid-June. I’m happy to say we are now able to move forward with both properties since a number of people reached out to our office with advice after reading about our difficulties in (ECA Review) paper.”

Mayor Rob Fehr acknowledged it was an achievement after the village kept hitting dead-ends. “Wow,” said Fehr. “I’m impressed.”
White responded, “Oh, what a journey we’ve been on.”

The CAO noted that Coun. Ed Cole had people approach him at a recent conference to offer advice after they also read the stories and White added that a number of members of the public phoned the village office after they too read about the village’s difficulties with finding anyone at the CRA they could talk to.

White stated she took advice and contacted a CRA office which appeared to be the proper one to discuss writs on property.’

“The writ on the first property will be discharged by CRA,” stated White’s report. “They are willing to remove it without receiving payment because there is not enough value in the property to cover the dollar amount of the writ on title.

“Writs on the second property will remain in place until the point of sale. Once the second property, Lot A Plan 4677RS, sells, the CRA will be sent the funds they are owed out of the proceeds of the sale. The village will also recover back taxes on the account as well, approximately $30,000.”

In her report White presented sections of Alberta’s Municipal Government Act (MGA) stating unpaid municipal taxes get paid first if the property sells; other debtors, including the CRA, are further down the ladder.

During discussion Coun. Cole voiced surprise at this, as he was under the impression the CRA’s federal authority would trump the MGA.
Not so, noted White.

Coun. Tim Besuijen stated he would like to get everything the CRA office told the village in writing, just to be certain. White responded that all of the CRA commitments will be received in writing.

The CAO also noted that Alberta land titles has apparently a serious backlog of work, so removing the writ from the first property may not happen quickly.

Councillors unanimously passed a resolution that the Village of Alix transfer title and take ownership of Lot a Plan 4677RS within the Village of Alix and council directed administration to take steps to sell the property for the assessed value once title has been transferred.

It was noted a resolution to sell the first property was already on the books.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.