John Milino, owner of Alberta Storage Place Ltd. in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, recently received his monthly tax bill and was shocked to see an increase from $8,408 to $10,440 for the second half of the year. Since 2015, the annual tax bill for his self-storage business has increased 99 percent, from $46,983 to $93,592, which has prompted him to publicly protest the hike, according to the source.
Milino has criticized city officials for saddling small business owners with paying for deficiencies within Calgary’s $4.5 billion annual budget instead of streamlining operations and making necessary cuts. He’s also been vocal about paying a higher tax rate than his larger self-storage competitors. Multi-national companies with lots of employees qualify as “passive earners” under the Canadian government and pay a lower federal tax rate, the source reported.
Milino told the source he’s unable to move to another city and isn’t in a position to sell his business. He’s also vowed not to pass the additional costs on to his customers. “Not only does a tax increase like this take a huge amount of money from my bottom line, it devalues our business—something that’s happening to all businesses in Calgary,” he said.
He isn’t the only small business owner protesting the tax hikes. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, a nonprofit specializing in assisting small businesses, has received several complaint calls from its members, according to Richard Truscott, vice president of the Alberta and British Columbia chapter. “Can you imagine what would happen if residents saw a 30 percent increase in their tax bill in one year? People would be grabbing torches and pitchforks,” Truscott told the source.
The tax increases have been levied in part due to fewer businesses operating in the city. More than 30 percent of “business towers” are empty in downtown Calgary.
“I would imagine that this tax increase will cause some business closures,” Truscott said. “This huge cost increase, which goes right to the bottom line of these small businesses, could become the tipping point and force some of them to close up shop. Others might move to less costly municipalities.”
Milino co-owns Alberta Storage Place with Connie Dean-Milino. The family business launched in 1998 as an RV-storage operation before expanding to full self-storage services in 2000, according to the company website.
Calgary Herald, Corbella: Shocking 100 Percent Business Tax Increase in Calgary in Five Years