Celgar loses tax appeal

Operator of Castlegar pulp facility faces financial setback

  • Aug. 20, 2014 3:00 p.m.

Mercer International’s Zellstoff Celgar mill.

Greg Nesteroff

Special to the Castlegar News

 

Zellstoff Celgar has lost another round in court in a long-running dispute with the provincial government over the amount it owes in property transfer taxes.

The BC Court of Appeal has ruled the owners of the Castlegar pulp mill must pay the Ministry of Small Business and Revenue more than $4.5 million, while the company argued it should only be on the hook for about $286,000.

At issue was whether the machinery and equipment in the mill should be included in calculating the total. The company claimed almost everything could be dismantled, removed, and sold, but the trial judge found that most of the machinery was affixed to the buildings, and that removing larger pieces would be expensive and non-viable.

Celgar appealed, but a three-member panel recently upheld the decision.

The Property Transfer Act imposes a one per cent tax on the first $200,000 and two per cent afterward on an estate’s fair market value.

Mercer International acquired the mill in 2005 for $210 million.

The full judgement can be found at bit.ly/VEfjQz

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