Property owners are reminded that the deadline for Ontario property tax rebate applications is rapidly approaching. Applications for rebates of municipal property tax paid in 2020 must be filed by the legislated deadline of February 28, 2021.
Property tax rebates may be available where a property has experienced a significant change in value over the course of a year because of specific events. In addition, the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created further opportunities for 2020 property tax rebates in Ontario.
Eligibility for Rebates
Significant events that may have occurred in 2020, resulting in a property becoming eligible for a municipal property tax rebate, include:
- Demolition: A property may be eligible for a rebate if it, or any part of it, was demolished during 2020.
- Damage because of fire or other causes: A property may be eligible for a rebate if it was damaged by fire, demolition, or other causes such as flooding, storm damage, or other “Acts of God.” To qualify, the property or a portion of the property must have been substantially unusable for the purposes for which it was used immediately prior to the damage.
- Repairs or renovations: A property may be eligible for a rebate if it was undergoing repairs or renovations for at least three months during the 2020 calendar year. The repairs or renovations must have been extensive enough to prevent the normal use of the property, or a portion of the property, for a period of three months or more. Any repairs or renovations lasting three months or more should be reviewed for eligibility, as the term “normal use” can be quite subjective.
- Vacancy: For commercial and industrial space in certain municipalities only, there is a rebate for vacant periods of 90 consecutive days or more during 2020. A property is generally not eligible for this rebate if a lease was in place. While many municipalities have eliminated their vacancy rebate programs, several jurisdictions still have vacancy rebates ranging from 10% to 35% in place.
If any of the significant events noted above occurred at a property in your portfolio during 2020, please contact Ryan with the pertinent details so that we can determine your eligibility for a rebate.
Potential COVID-19 Relief
The COVID-19 pandemic has compromised the market value of many properties and resulted in the loss of use of certain properties. For example, many retail, hospitality, recreation, and sports venues were among the asset types hardest hit by the pandemic.
Provincial legislation provides an opportunity for property tax relief in specific cases where a property is rendered substantially unusable or damaged. As a property owner, if you were forced to close because of public health measures or experienced a significant pandemic-related revenue decline in 2020, you may qualify for a municipal property tax rebate. However, it is very likely certain assessors and/or municipalities will not agree with our interpretation of the legislation, and rebate applications made on this basis may be denied, requiring an appeal. Ryan will make every effort to ensure that its clients’ interests are represented.
For property owners wishing to proceed with a pandemic-related property tax rebate application, Ryan anticipates that the following information, at a minimum, will be required:
- Property address and municipality;
- Exact dates of closure (and reopening, where applicable);
- Details on any physical changes to the property that restricted its use (e.g., hoarding, chained doors, stations blocking exits, shut-off of utilities, etc.);
- Description of any areas closed off (whether an entire building or parts of a building, such as meeting rooms or food and beverage service areas), as well as the corresponding square footage of the space;
- An indication of whether any closure was a business decision because of economic conditions or directly related to public health orders; and
- Details on the revenue loss because of the pandemic, including the period of loss, financial amount, and prior period comparatives.
The deadline for all 2020 property tax rebate applications in Ontario is February 28, 2021.
If you have any questions about the availability of property tax rebates for your properties in Ontario, please do not hesitate to contact your Ryan representative or call the Ryan TaxDirect® line at 1.800.667.1600.