The City of Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures has decided to suspend, until further order of the late fee for the payment of real estate transfer tax, commonly known as the “welcome tax”.
Like many other municipalities, St. Augustine had already announced a few weeks ago, the deferral of the deadline property tax payments in order to give a break to taxpayers who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic.
The mayor Sylvain Juneau and the other members of the city council have decided to go a little further in their stretching. They bring back to 0% the interest rate for the penalties in case of delay, both for property taxes and for the welcome tax.
This last, shifted to any other purchaser of land or a building, usually varies between 2000$ and 12 000$ in Saint-Augustin, in function of the value of the property traded. It can reach a few hundreds of thousands of dollars to an industry.
A break of a few months
“There are people who have made transactions in December, January, February, and even march before it tumbles, and then there they receive the invoice for the transfer tax. Among them, there are those who have lost their jobs from one day to the next day and no longer have income. Before they receive the unemployment or the provision of emergency, we want to give them a break, “explains the mayor Juneau in an interview, saying having been summoned by “a few” owners to this effect.
“The goal is to ensure that these people are not caught in the throat. If you are not able to pay, do not pay and there will be no interest for now”, he adds, noting, however, that the suspension of the late fee will be temporary and will only last a few months. After that, it will be necessary to pay the welcome tax in full.
“For the moment, there are plans to bring the interest rate up to the end of June, but we will see how the situation will evolve by then,” says Mr. Juneau, do not exclude the possibility to extend the measure if necessary.
Elsewhere in Quebec
Other cities such as Laval, Mercier, Mirabel, Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Saint-Lin-Laurentides had already announced easing for the payment of transfer duties in the last few weeks, but the idea is far from having made its way everywhere. Quebec city, Levis and L’ancienne-Lorette, no specific measures have been announced so far about the welcome tax.
The City of Quebec has, however, indicated to the Newspaper, in the evening, that the new owners “could receive their bill later than usual” since the City is currently focused “on delivering its essential services”. The Act respecting duties on transfers of real estate “requires that the City issue an invoice for the rights of mutation, however, without prescribing the time,” said the spokesman of the City, David O’brien, by e-mail.