City goof results in Alberni tax overpayment

An accounting error caused the city of Alberni to collect $244,000 more in taxes from residents than was required, city manager Ken Watson said.

Oops.

Usually it’s the taxpayer who owes city hall tax money, but now it’s the other way around.

An accounting error caused the city to collect $244,000 more in taxes from residents than was required, city manager Ken Watson said.

The amount equates to $21 per resident based on the average home price of  $200,000.

According to Watson, the error occurred as a result of the tax rates set in the city’s 2011 Tax Rates bylaw.

The error occurred when the five-year financial plan and tax rates bylaws were adopted earlier this year.

The financial plan bylaw forecasted $18.78 million in taxes being collected.  But $19.02 million was collected under the tax rates bylaw instead.

“They don’t often concur to the penny but this was significant,” Watson said.

The error was discovered after a taxpayer noticed a discrepancy and asked the city to review it.

A cash rebate to city taxpayers isn’t in the cards though. The community charter prohibits the city from returning the overcharged taxes.

Instead, the overpayment will be deposited in a separate account until next year when it will be applied against 2012 property taxes.

“Residents will get a smaller tax bill than they otherwise would have,” Watson said.

reporter@albernivalleynews