Niagara Region and other levels of government offer the following tax rebates and deferral programs:
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 and for subsequent years.
To be eligible, an applicant must:
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.
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, you may be eligible for an annual deferral of either all or part of your property tax increases. Basic eligibility requirements are as follows:
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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.
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 email the Assessment Office.
Charities and non-profit organizations are eligible for reduced property taxes.
Current legislation requires Council to rebate a minimum of 40 per cent of total property taxes payable by a charity and permits rebates of between 0 per cent and 100 per cent to organizations deemed to be similar to a charity.
Providing that all eligibility requirements are met, the following rebates will be provided:
Applications will be accepted between Jan. 1 of the tax year and Feb. 28 of the following year.
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.
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 per cent for commercial properties and 30 per cent 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 Feb. 28 of the following year.
To be eligible for a rebate, a building or portion of a building must satisfy specific conditions.
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 per cent which is in keeping with the lower tax rate afforded to working farms. Phase II (building permit issued) discounts will remain at 0 per cent since farming ceases at this stage.