Province freezing education property tax, deferring WCB premiums to assist during COVID-19

by Morinville News Staff

Premier Jason Kenney has announced three government decisions he says will give Albertans and Alberta employers additional supports as they deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. The three measures are an education property tax freeze, the deferral of WCB premiums, and the deferral of education property taxes for businesses.

“Our priority is to keep our province strong while we get through these difficult times together,” Premier Jason Kenney said Monday. “We’re doing everything we can to support Albertans and Alberta employers through this crisis. That’s why we’re focused on creating tangible savings for households and freeing up necessary cash for businesses to help them through these unprecedented times.”

Education property tax freeze

The Government of Alberta has canceled its Budget 2020 3.4 per cent population and inflation adjustment decision and will freeze education property taxes at last year’s level.

It is a move the Premier says will save Alberta households and businesses about $87 million in 2020-21.

Education property tax deferral for business

Effective immediately, the Government of Alberta will also defer education property tax for businesses for six months, a move that says will keep $458 million in cash with employers to help them pay employees and continue operations.

The UCP is encouraging commercial landlords to pass on the tax savings to their tenants through reduced or deferred payments to help employers continue to manage their debts, pay their employees and stay in business.

However, the government is recommending that businesses capable of paying their taxes in full should do so.

“Eliminating the scheduled adjustment of education property taxes and deferring collection of non-residential property taxes will result in savings to Albertans and improved business cash flow,” said President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance Travis Toews. “This measure will help Alberta households and businesses during this time – we want to keep Albertans working while we get through these difficult times together.”

WCB premiums deferral

The Government of Alberta also announced Monday that private-sector employers will have immediate financial relief by deferring WCB premiums until early 2021, effectively for one year. Employers who have already paid their WCB premium payment for 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit.

For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50 per cent of the premium when it is due, and large employers will also receive a break by having their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due.

The province previously announced that corporate income tax balances and installment payments are deferred until Aug. 31, 2020, which the government believes will give Alberta businesses access to about $1.5 billion in funds to help them cope with the COVID-19 crisis.

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