Property Tax Relief Programs

Niagara Region and other levels of government offer the following tax rebates and deferral programs:

Ontario Senior Homeowners' Property Tax Grant

Beginning in 2009, Ontario is providing $250 to help senior homeowners with low and moderate incomes pay their property taxes. The amount will be raised to $500 in 2010.

To be eligible, an applicant must:

  • own/occupy a principal residence in Ontario and paid property taxes in 2008
  • be 64 years of age (or older) on December 31, 2008

This program is administered by the Province of Ontario. Visit Ontario's Ontario Senior Homeowners' Property Tax Grant web page for more information on eligibility and how to apply.

Low-Income Seniors and Low-Income Disabled Persons

Seniors over 65 years of age or low-income persons with a disability who own and occupy a residence in Niagara Region.

If you are a senior over 65 years of age or a low-income person with a disability and own your principal residence in Niagara Region, you may be eligible for an annual deferral of either all or part of your property tax increases. Basic eligibility requirements are as follows:

Applicant

  • 65 years of age or older and in receipt of the monthly Guaranteed Income Supplement provided under Part II of the Old Age Security Act (Canada)
  • - or -

  • Disabled and in receipt of on-going benefits under the Ontario Disability Support Program.

Ownership/Occupancy

  • The applicant must own and occupy the property, within the Niagara region, as their principal residence for which the tax deferral is applied
  • The applicant must have owned a residential property within the Niagara region for a period of one or more years preceding the application

Tax Account Standing

  • Tax deferral applies to current taxes only and not tax arrears or outstanding taxes
  • To maintain eligibility the property taxes must be current
  • Eligibility for the deferral program is required for each taxation year
  • A tax reduction from a successful assessment appeal may alter the amount of the tax deferral

Review the Application for Deferral of Property Taxes and By-law 96-2006 for more information about eligibility and tax deferral.

To determine your eligibility to receive a property tax deferral, contact the tax office of your local municipality. Applications for a tax year are to be submitted by February 28 of the following year.

Homes Built for People with Disabilities

The Province provides a property tax exemption for a portion of the assessed value of all new homes built to accommodate seniors and people with disabilities who would otherwise require care in an institution (premises where on-site care is provided).

In the past, only the value of alterations or additions made to existing homes to accommodate people with disabilities was exempted from property taxation. New homes with custom-built features did not qualify for any exemption. Ten per cent of the assessed value of new homes built to accommodate seniors or persons with disabilities will also be exempt from property taxation.

For additional information, call 1-866-296-6722 or 1-877-889-6722 (TTY), or email the Assessment Office.

Registered Charities and Similar Organizations

Charities and Non-Profit Organizations are eligible for reduced property taxes.

Current legislation requires Council to rebate a minimum of 40% of total property taxes payable by a charity and permits rebates of between 0% and 100% to organizations deemed to be similar to a charity.

Review the Application Form and Tax Rebates for Charitable Organizations policy, or contact the tax office of your local municipality to determine your eligibility for a charitable rebate.

Providing that all eligibility requirements are met, the following rebates will be provided:

  • Legions and other similar organizations as defined under section 325 section 6.1 of the Assessment Act - 100% of taxes paid
  • Navy Leagues as defined under section 6 of the Assessment Act - 100% of taxes paid
  • All other eligible charities as defined in subsection 248 (1) of the Income Tax Act and have a registration number issued by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency - 40% of taxes paid

Applications will be accepted between Jan. 1 of the tax year and Feb. 28 of the following year.

Heritage Properties

Heritage properties may be eligible for a tax rebate.

The tax reduction for the Heritage Property Program (under Municipal Act, 2001, section 365.2) provides local municipalities with a mechanism to provide tax reductions or refunds with respect to an "eligible" heritage property. Niagara Region will match tax reductions or refunds adopted by local municipalities under this section.

To date, Fort Erie and Port Colborne have both adopted programs which provide reductions to eligible heritage properties. Call the Town of Fort Erie at 905-871-1600, or the City of Port Colborne at 905-835-2900 for further details.

Contact your local municipality to determine if it has a property tax program for heritage properties.

Vacant Properties

The Municipal Act, 2001 provides for rebates to vacant business units at the same percentage as discounts afforded to property owners of vacant and excess land. These percentages are 30% for commercial properties and 35% for industrial properties.

Property owners who are eligible for a rebate must submit an application to their local city/town hall (not the Region) for each year that a building, or a portion of a building, is vacant. The deadline to submit an application for a tax year is February 28 of the following year.

To be eligible for a rebate, a building or portion of a building must satisfy specific conditions.

Farmland Awaiting Development

As a matter of public policy farmland in Ontario has traditionally received preferential property tax treatment while it is a working farm. By providing tax discounts for farmland awaiting development, municipalities are providing incentives to keep this land under cultivation during the development period.

The Region maintained its policy to provide discounts for farmland awaiting development during phase I (registered plan of subdivision) at 75% which is in keeping with the lower tax rate afforded to working farms. Phase II (building permit issued) discounts will remain at 0% since farming ceases at this stage.


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