Salvation Army Gets Tax Break
Prince George, B.C.- It’s been a long road, but the Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul have finally cleared the hurdles necessary to get a tax break from the City of Prince George.
At issue was the tax bill for the thrift stores operated by the two organizations. The tax exemption policy did not allow for any commercial operations to qualify for a tax exemption. Since the thrift stores charge a fee for their stock, it meant they couldn’t qualify.
But the policy has been revised to allow such ventures to apply for a tax exemption as the policy now allows “commercial activity as long as it is not in competition with for-profit businesses.”
In the case of the Salvation Army, the 2016 bill was in the range of $12 thousand dollars, money that organization says could be better used by channelling it into the programs it offers. “We first started talking to the City about this issue in 2014” says Salvation Army Business Manager Bill Glasgow. “We were told at that time we hadn’t applied for the exemption on time.” But then things changed as the Salvation Army opened the Curt Garland Centre of Hope on 18th Avenue, a facility which includes a thrift store. Glasgow says while the thrift store is a retail operation “it helps fund the ministry that we operate in Prince George.”
Revisions to the Tax Exemption bylaw not only add the Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores, but add a few other properties have been cleared for exemption from municipal property taxes in both 2017 and 2018.
“I’m hopeful that the City will keep it going past those two years” says Glasgow.
Under the Community Charter organizations are expected to reapply annually for the exemption.
Other additions to the tax exemption bylaw include:
- The Prince George Native Friendship Centre’s Ketso Yoh Men’s shelter,
- P.G. Hospice House
- AiMHi on Eaglenest Crescent
Council held a special meeting yesterday to pass the bylaw revisions as the changes had to be in place by October 31st.
Based on the 2016 tax bills, the total value of all permissive tax exemptions granted ( including the new ones added yesterday) is just over $1.8 million dollars.