Opinion: ‘Karen’ in Burnaby ‘stunned’ city didn’t remind her to pay taxes

Chris Campbell

Roughly 34% of Burnaby property owners did not pay their property taxes on time this year, more than double the 15% who didn’t pay their taxes on time in 2019, according to the city.

Property taxes were due by July 3, but just 66% of properties paid up by that time, according to city spokesperson Chris Bryan. But then - in an act of sympathy as people were struggling with the fallout from COVID-19 - council voted earlier this year to cancel late fees on property taxes until Sept. 30, when a 10% penalty would be imposed. (Since this column first appeared, Bryan told the NOW that 96% paid by Sept. 30.)

That, however, isn’t good enough for Karen in Burnaby.

And when I say Karen, I don’t mean the nickname for an entitled person demanding to speak to your manager – I mean a woman actually named Karen.

This Karen is acting like a Karen because she wrote to the city and CC’d me in the bizarre expectation that I would take her side as she whined about being late paying her property taxes.

For some reason, this Karen thinks the City of Burnaby should have taken even more steps to remind her to pay her taxes.

“What the heck is the point of extending payment and then not even sending a reminder?” Karen asked. “What the heck is the point of extending the payment if the party line is ‘sorry it’s the law.’ It’s not the bloody law. It was extended. It can be extended more.” 

Sure, the city should just keep extending it and extending it until every last person feels like paying their taxes. Wait…what?

Karen actually blames the city for extending the deadline in the first place.

“People are creatures of habit,” Karen writes. “I had just automatically thought I had paid my property tax in June, as I had done every year. Are you really going to penalize me for not marking in my calendar the new deadline that was set five months ago? If you hadn’t extended it, I wouldn’t be in this predicament. I would have paid it in June.”

But, Karen, you could have paid your taxes in June. As listed above, 66% of homeowners did exactly that by the deadline. The extension was mainly about delaying paying your taxes without penalty.

And the city has been pretty active in promoting the fact that the deadline was approaching. So, Karen, maybe take some responsibility and just pay up.

- with files from Dustin Godfrey

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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