|1. Property Tax Relief for Low-Income Seniors and Low-Income Persons with Disabilities?|
|2. Who is eligible for property tax relief under this program?|
|3. Who is a "low-income senior" or "low-income person with a disability"?|
|4. How much tax may be deferred or cancelled?|
|5. What effect will a property tax deferral, cancellation or other relief have on Ontario Property Tax Credit calculations?|
|6. Will relief be provided for assessment-related tax increases after 1998?|
|7. Will interest be charged on the deferred taxes?|
|8. How will the amounts deferred/cancelled are recorded?|
|9. Where can I obtain more information?|
1. Property Tax Relief for Low-Income Seniors and Low-Income Persons with Disabilities?: Low-income seniors and low-income persons with disabilities who own residential property may be eligible to receive relief from property tax increases that resulted from assessment reform. Under the Ontario Fair Assessment System (under section 373 of the Municipal Act), municipalities are required to defer or cancel property taxes or provide other relief in respect of tax increases resulting from assessment reform on residential properties owned by low-income seniors, low-income persons with disabilities, or their spouses.
Municipalities have the flexibility to determine the amount of tax relief and the form of relief, and they are responsible for determining who will be eligible for relief.
3. Who is a "low-income senior" or "low-income person with a disability"? : Each municipality is responsible for establishing eligibility criteria and each municipality will establish a definition of "low-income senior" and "low-income persons with disabilities".
In the past, some municipalities used definitions that were based on existing federal or provincial definitions. For example, the Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income Act provides guidelines as to what constitutes a low-income senior. The federal Old Age Security Act also offers direction on this subject. The provincial Ministry of Community and Social Services' Income Support Plan for People with Disabilities may also be helpful in developing definitions.
To find out if you are eligible, contact your local municipal office.
4. How much tax may be deferred or cancelled? : The maximum amount that may be deferred is the 1998 assessment-related tax increase (as defined in section 372.1 of the Municipal Act) reduced by the 1998 tax adjustment on that property for phase-in purposes.
5. What effect will a property tax deferral, cancellation or other relief have on Ontario Property Tax Credit calculations? : Any deferral or cancellation of property tax will affect an Ontario Property Tax Credit claim. The amount of the deferral or cancellation cannot be included as "occupancy cost" for the calculation of the credit. Only property tax actually paid in the year can be considered "occupancy cost".
If and when the deferred amount is repaid, the entire lump sum can be included as "occupancy cost" and used to calculate the Ontario Property Tax Credit in the year in which the amount is repaid. Any accrued interest cannot be included in the credit calculation.
6. Will relief be provided for assessment-related tax increases after 1998? : For subsequent years, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing may make regulations governing the determination of an assessment-related tax increase.
7. Will interest be charged on the deferred taxes? : A municipality that passes a by-law to defer taxes may specify a rate of interest to be charged. However, the rate cannot exceed the market rate as determined by the municipality.
Any payment made toward deferred taxes must first be applied to any interest which has accrued on account of the deferral.
The tax relief program is administered by the local municipality. If a local municipality levies a tax rate for upper-tier or school purposes in respect of which there is a deferral or cancellation of tax increases or other relief, the amount of taxes that the lower-tier (local) municipality pays the upper-tier municipality or school boards will also be reduced accordingly. The lower-tier municipality must pay the upper-tier municipality and school boards their share of any deferred taxes and interest when they are repaid.
9. Where can I obtain more information? For details about the tax relief program in your community, contact your local municipal office. Alternatively, you may call the Ministry of Finance Information Centre toll-free at: