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Have a Toronto home sitting empty? You could face the new vacancy tax in the new year


Toronto’s new Vacant Home Tax aims to free up housing units and raise between $55 and $66 million for the city.

But many residents who received the notice in the mail were concerned it might be part of a scam.

It’s not and if you don’t respond to it you could face a $250 fine.

“We simply can't afford, from the housing perspective, to have housing accommodations for thousands of people sitting empty," said Mayor John Tory while pitching the housing tax in December of 2020.

Now, the notices are in the mail and all owners of houses and condos will receive a notice regarding the Vacancy Home Tax while renters will not.

The notice states that "all residential property owners are required to declare the occupancy status of their residential property(s) annually.”

You must reply before Feb. 2 2023 and if you don’t, the notice states "late declarations may be subject to a fine of $250."

Any residential properties that sit empty for more than six months in any given year will be subject to the vacancy tax.

The vacancy tax is equal to 1 per cent of a property's current value assessment meaning someone with a vacant $1 million-dollar home would have to pay a vacancy tax of $10,000.

The City of Ottawa has a similar vacancy tax in place and residents there have also be receiving notices which they too must act on.

In Toronto, there are some exemptions from paying the Vacant Home Tax including if the owner of the property has died or is in hospital or long-term care.

The tax also does not apply if a property is undergoing major repairs or renovations, there is a court order, there is a transfer of legal ownership underway or there is occupancy for full-time employment.

To make the process easier, a city spokesperson said there will be an online declaration portal that should be ready later this month.

“The City anticipates that most homeowners will make their Vacant Home Tax declaration by using the online portal. The online portal provides a fast, easy and efficient method for residents to make declarations 24/7 using their computer or mobile phone from any location,” said the spokesperson in a statement.

The spokesperson added, “If a declaration is not received, the City will deem the property vacant and a Vacant Home Tax Notice will be issued and the amount added to tax bills. The City will send reminder notices in early March to advise that a declaration is required.”

Residential property owners will be able to make their occupancy status declaration here. Top Stories

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