Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut July 15, 2016 - 10:27 am

Annual deadbeat list shows Nunavut property tax arrears top $3 million

But about half that is still owed by a now-bankrupt mining company

THOMAS ROHNER

Delinquent property taxpayers outside Iqaluit owe the Government of Nunavut about $3.4 million.

But nearly half of that is owed by the defunct mining company that once owned the Jericho mine in Nunavut’s Kitikmeot region.

Shear Minerals Ltd. owes the GN more than $1.6 million in tax arrears, according to data recently released by the finance department, current to June 30.

Those numbers show the mining company owes an additional $32,000 for two other properties — one near the Jericho mine site and another near Cape Dorset.

Every year the Nunavut government publishes a list of individuals and businesses with outstanding property tax bills, broken down for every community except Iqaluit, which collects its own property taxes.

Last year, about 1,000 Nunavut citizens and businesses owed $3.2-million in taxes.

This year, the same number of delinquent taxpayers owe about $3.4-million.

Despite that increase, the finance department collected about $225,000 in owed taxes in the past year, Janis Qaunirq, a department spokesperson told Nunatsiaq News.

But the large tax bill owed by the defunct mining company is not likely to be collected any time soon.

That’s because the company’s former assets, including the Jericho mine site, have been in a holding pattern since the federal government assumed ownership in late 2014.

While it’s unclear what Ottawa will do with those assets, it’s possible Ottawa will eventually try to offload them into private hands.

“Until there is further clarity about the property’s future, the GN’s position remains the same,” Qaunirq said.

“The arrears will stay attached to the property.”

No other companies or citizens come close to owing the same amount as Shear Minerals.

But at least ten other companies operating in Nunavut owe more than $10,000 each in tax arrears, including:

• Ilagiiktut Ltd. in Rankin Inlet, which owes over $28,000;

• K P & H in Rankin Inlet, which owes nearly $20,000;

• 953731 NWT Ltd. in Resolute bay, which owes about $17,000; and,

• Diamonds North Resources Ltd. in Gjoa Haven, which owes about $15,500.

In general, Nunavut residents on the tax arrears list owe far less than companies.

“More than half of the property owners listed owe less than $1,000,” Qaunirq said.

“Without Shear Minerals, the average arrears owing is about $1,732.”

Like last year, Arviat and Rankin Inlet owed the most in tax arrears as of June 30, Qaunirq said — about $188,000 and $167,000 respectively.

But since sending notices out in April, Qaunirq said Rankin Inlet has shown the biggest drop in both number of properties showing tax arrears and the total amount owing.

Iqaluit is exempt from the tax arrears list because the municipality is the only one in Nunavut to collect its own property taxes.  Outside of Iqaluit, property owners pay tax directly to the GN.

At a March 2015 council meeting, Coun. Terry Dobbin said the City of Iqaluit is owed about $2.7-million in property tax arrears.

Residents in Kugaaruk and Hall Beach stepped up and paid their property taxes at a higher rate than in other communities, after the GN sent out notices of arrears. (GN GRAPH)
Residents in Kugaaruk and Hall Beach stepped up and paid their property taxes at a higher rate than in other communities, after the GN sent out notices of arrears. (GN GRAPH)
Email this story to a friend... Print this page... Bookmark and Share

 THIS WEEK’S ADS

 ADVERTISING