District of Squamish wants control over its ability to tax places of worship. In a meeting on February 21, council voted to send a resolution to LMLGA to lobby the province to move the tax exemption granted to places of worship from statutory to permission exemption.
Since statutory tax exemptions are automatically granted and applied, local governments have no control over them. But municipalities can control permissive tax exemptions, which is a tool that allows the District to support non-profits by exempting land or improvements from taxation.
District has a leeway to give, refuse or set limits to permissive tax exemptions. However, district has no such control over statutory tax exemptions as they are automatic exemptions from property tax provided by federal or provincial legislation. These properties are usually government properties or places of worship.
The resolution sent by District states: “Municipalities lack the ability to control the size and allocation of statutory tax exemptions, which can constitute a significant portion of municipal budgets, and statutory tax exemptions for places of worship are granted in perpetuity.”
“Therefore it be resolved that LMLGA and UBCM lobby the Provincial Government to amend the Community Charter to move the tax exemption granted to places of public worship under the statutory section to the permissive section.”