The operator of a campground near Mossley, Ontario, is upset the province has imposed property taxes on trailers at his site and wants him to collect them, according to the London (Ontario) Free Press.
“It’s ridiculous,” Joe Bardoel, operator of Golden Pond RV Park, told the newspaper. “I don’t know what I’ll do. I’m just waiting . . . they want to turn me into a tax collector.”
Bardoel has a $45,000 (Canadian) property tax bill from the province for 70 of the 180 trailers on his 16-hectare (39.5 acre) site. The 70 are lived in year-round, the remainder are primarily seasonal. He said he complained about it, but the bill was due Dec. 15 and he faces late-payment penalties.
One Canadian dollar is worth 78.7 cents in U.S. currency at current exchange rates.
The province has eliminated an exemption for trailers in seasonal parks it granted in the 1980s. As of 2003, property taxes now apply to trailers more than 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) in width that are deemed permanent because they have connections for water and electricity and have attached structures such as sunrooms or decks and are on some form of foundation.
Bardoel said he traditionally has paid about $8,000 (Canadian) in property taxes to the province, but the new bill was neither expected nor appreciated.
He is required to levy taxes from $500 to $1,200 a year on his customers who already pay him $300 a month rent. He supplies them with sewer, water and road services.
Trout Haven Park in Strathroy was hit with a $2,500 bill on the three largest of the trailers in the 68-site campground that also has 37 smaller trailers. The operator, who asked not to be named, said with no cash flow at this time of year, the bill can’t be paid. She hasn’t been able to reach the trailer owners, two of whom are “snowbirds” in Florida.
She said she worries about the impact on owners. One is a 73-year-old man who recently bought his unit for $11,000 and now finds it assessed at $60,000 for taxation purposes.
At Coves Mobile Home Park in London, a manufactured-home facility, Manager Joanne Robilliard said the 133 units all receive city water and sewer service and have paid property taxes the 20 years she’s been there.
Robilliard said the province appears to be targeting trailers in campgrounds “that were pretending they were seasonal.”
The move to end tax exemption based on seasonal use was welcomed by Jim Brothers of Strathroy, executive director of the Ontario Manufactured Housing Association.
Taxation will be based on size of the unit rather than use, a move he said creates “a level playing field” among manufactured homes and RVs.
“We are happy a form of equality has been restored,” Brothers said.
He noted the Ontario government announced as far back as 1998 the tax break would be ending because it was losing millions of dollars of tax revenue.