On June 24, the Mayor of Iqaluit Kenny Bell posted on Twitter saying he plans to make a motion to remove tax exemptions from churches in the city, saying the motion would be made during the July 13 city council meeting.
On July 12 he took to the platform again, clarifying on Feb. 2 he already made a similar motion on the Finance Committee of the Whole to recommend to council that an application and not-for-profit property tax exemption policy be developed on a sliding scale, which was to include churches.
“Thus, I will not be making another motion specific to property taxation for churches at this time,” said Bell.
He adds that he made the posts on Twitter after learning about the 751 residential school children found in Kamloops, B.C.
“Something I believe in regardless of the terrible situation: churches shouldn’t have tax exemption … really any group that says they provide a community good shouldn’t have a problem paying their fair share of taxes like the rest of us,” he said.
While the sliding scale system still has to be developed, councillor and finance committee chair Kyle Sheppard adds tax exemptions are managed by a bylaw which is passed once a year, typically in December or January before first tax notices go out. Removing tax exemptions from churches can be achieved through this simple process, thus removing the need for a motion.
The Finance Committee of the Whole makes the recommendation each year for final council approval, “it’s all the same people around the table” wrote Sheppard to Nunavut News. “Authority to exempt lies solely with the City in this case as per the Nunavut Taxation Act.
“In reality, all that needs to be done from a process standpoint is to remove any currently named party from the exempted list when it’s time to renew the list and that’s that.”