Harmac won't withhold 2009 taxes, president says

By Vancouver Sun November 25, 2009

Nanaimo's Harmac pulp mill has no intention of withholding its municipal taxes for 2009, despite missing two summer deadlines to pay $2.8 million in property taxes and accruing penalties, says president Levi Sampson. Sampson said the mill began an appeal process with the B.C. Assessment Authority last April over its assessment of Harmac's property, and the company will comply with the outcome of the process. He said Nanaimo Forest Products, the worker-led consortium that bought the mill last year, will not engage in a tax strike and refuse to pay its tax bill or follow the lead of Catalyst Paper, which is involved in an ongoing court action with four Island communities where the company operates over tax disagreements.

Sampson said he hopes the appeal process will be over before January, when the City of Nanaimo will begin to charge daily interest on the outstanding tax bill. Harmac was slapped with a five-per-cent penalty for non-payment of its taxes on July 2, and an additional five per cent on Aug. 13, totaling more than $200,000. But Bill Dawson, a spokesman for the B.C. Assessment Authority, said it's unlikely that the case will be presented to the government's property assessment appeal board before the new year, and that the authority stands by its assessment of the mill property at $17 million.

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