Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article stated that 85% of Toronto homeowners had not declared their occupancy status. The correct statistic is that 85% did declare their status.
Those who missed Thursday’s deadline to declare residential occupancy status under the new Vacant Home Tax are in good company, with only 84.5% of homeowners declaring. As such, the deadline has been pushed until the end of the month, announced Mayor Tory at a press event yesterday.
At the event, held to launch the City’s new speed cameras, Tory said that the tens of thousands of homeowners who are yet to complete the paperwork will not be subject to the $250 late fine.
“There will be no fines issued during that time and so I hope that what this will encourage people to do is to fill out the form so they won’t have to pay this tax,” said Tory. “If they can just do that it will help avoid a lot of calls and emails later that people don’t want.”
He also went on to iterate that most homeowners will not be subject to the annual Vacant Home Tax, as it only applies to residences unoccupied for more than six months of the taxation year.
That said, homeowners who miss the end-of-February deadline will face the same ramification as before: the City will consider the home vacant and an additional 1% of its Current Value Assessment will be added to the tax bill for the property. Those deemed subject to the tax will be issued a Vacant Home Tax Notice in March or April, and the payment will be due on May 1.
Tory also referenced Vancouver’s Vacant Home Tax, which has been in effect since 2017. In Vancouver’s case, the tax proved effective, Tory said, resulting in thousands of units coming back on the market.
“And that’s what we want here,” he said. “We want people not to pay the tax. I don’t care if anybody pays this tax. If units — thousands of units — can come back on the housing market in the City of Toronto, think of the difference it would make if thousands of units were available to us because people did not want to pay this tax.”
He continued, “The point of this isn’t money, the point of this is to get housing stock that is sitting empty into people’s hands to use for housing.”