Sexsmith entrepreneurs can apply for small-business tax break under extended deadline

·2 min read

Sexsmith’s small-business owners will have more time to apply for a lower tax rate under a newly passed bylaw amendment.

The split tax rate allows businesses with fewer than six full-time employees to pay as low as 75 per cent of the standard non-residential rate.

Under the amending bylaw tabled last week the deadline for this year only will be moved from Dec. 31 to March 31.

“We would like to see more small businesses get that extra break,” Rachel Wueschner, town chief administrative officer, told council during last week’s meeting.

Wueschner told council the town didn’t actively promote the split tax this year partly due to COVID distractions.

Only two businesses applied for the split tax this year, whereas there had been eight applications in 2020, she said.

Mayor Kate Potter told Town & Country News the latest restrictions and their impact on businesses showed a need to support local enterprise.

“We felt that split tax was critically important to seeing small businesses thrive in our town,” Potter said.

While the split tax means less revenue to the town, she said it benefits Sexsmith by encouraging more businesses to open and keeping tax rates competitive.

The split tax gives incentive to entrepreneurs to stay in the community or bring their businesses to the community, she said.

As well, Potter said the interim budget was also crafted with the expectation there would be the same number of applications for the split tax as last year.

This means more than two businesses applying won’t affect the budget, she said.

During last week’s meeting Wueschner recommended moving the deadline to March 31.

“I believe that will give us enough time to work out the tax rate,” she said.

Coun. Clint Froehlick supported an extension but said a 90-day period was unnecessary and suggested shortening it, possibly until mid-February.

Coun. Jonathan Siggelkow defended the 90-day proposal, saying it wouldn’t adversely affect the town and would give the town time to reach out to businesses.

Councillors Siggelkow, Isak Skjaveland and Froehlick’s motions for readings and passage of the amendment and new March 31 deadline were carried.

Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News