Despite Record Profits, Oil Industry Owes Nearly $270 Million in Property Taxes
The Rural Municipalities of Alberta Association calculates property tax arrears for the counties and municipal districts they represent since 2018.
Rural municipalities in Alberta are complaining that oil and gas companies are not paying property tax arrears, while their profits are at record highs. These companies owe them $268 million.
That's 6% more than last year.
It's a serious problem, says Paul McLauchlin, president of Rural Municipalities of Alberta, the association that represents 69 counties and municipal districts in the province.
The association has been asking for four years for the intervention of the provincial government to force companies to pay their property taxes. Rural municipalities continue to be treated like cash cows by oil and gas companies as industry profits and royalty revenues soar, she said in a news release.
< p class="e-p">The president of the association does not understand why the companies concerned do not pay their dues. The prices of oil and natural gas are very high, the level of working capital is exceptional. You would think they would pay their bills, protests Paul McLauchlin.
Jay Averill, spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, writes in an email that the x27;industry knows it has to pay its taxes, but the previous economic downturn in the oil and gas sector is still impacting the industry.
Municipal Affairs Minister Rebecca Schulz says: The problem of property tax arrears is unacceptable.
The Minister adds that the government and the Energy Regulatory Agency are working on a possible change in regulations so that tax arrears are taken into account when applying for a license or renewing it. The Alberta government will help municipalities collect what they are owed.
Twenty-five companies have submitted schedules to pay $48 million in property taxes they owe to municipalities, says Rebecca Schulz.
Paul McLauchlin, for his part, believes that the AER is complicit in the situation, because it fears that forcing companies to pay will lead them to close their doors before cleaning their wells.
With information from The Canadian Press and CBC Edmonton