London property tax processing error leads to double payment for 33,000 owners

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It’s not your imagination: City hall really does charge way too much in taxes.

At least that’s what happened this week, when the city accidentally withdrew end-of-month property taxes twice from the bank accounts of 33,000 taxpayers.

“Obviously, we were a little bit angry,” said London retailer Gord Mood, who was among those whose bank accounts were raided.

“We pay enough taxes already,” he said.

And how did this error happen?

Believe it or not, in this age of advanced technology, it was a good, old-fashioned “human error” that led to the double-billing.

“The file was sent correctly on June 30. Because of an error, the same file was sent on July 5,” said Jim Logan, the division manager of taxation and revenue at 300 Dufferin Ave.

“We were shocked when we got in here and I found out about it,” Logan added.

“It happened (Wednesday) night after working hours. It’s going to have to be thoroughly investigated.”

According to Logan, a mistake of this scale is a London first.

He promises that taxpayers who were charged for having insufficient funds in their accounts – because they believed, correctly, they had already paid their share — will be reimbursed as soon as humanly possible.

“Nothing like this has ever occurred before,” Logan said. “Obviously, we apologize for the situation.”

He said Thursday afternoon that the tax files in question were being reversed while he spoke.

Mood said he and wife and business partner Carol Vandenberg pay a “fair amount” in taxes each month.

“The city charged us once when they should have and once when they shouldn’t,” he said.

When Vandenberg contacted city hall, her suspicion that the problem was widespread was confirmed.

“They knew they had an issue. They were working on it,” Mood said. “Their overdrawing causes us to be overdrawn. I know it’s just an accident. I understand it.”

And did Londoners who are in the same boat as Mood take the mistake in stride, or did they get all worked up about being overcharged?

“Yes, that’s correct,” Logan deadpanned about all angry messages he received.

danbrown@postmedia.com

twitter.com/DanatLFPress


1 London

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