Toronto Vacant Home Tax in Effect January 1, 2023

The City of Toronto's Vacant Home Tax (VHT) is a policy implemented by the city of Toronto in an effort to address the issue of housing affordability and to encourage the use of under-utilized housing units by increasing the supply of housing in the city. The tax takes effect January 1, 2023 and applies to all Toronto residential properties that are declared, deemed or determined vacant for more than six months (cumulative) during the previous calendar year.

The tax is based on the Current Value Assessment (CVA) of the property at a rate of 1%. This means that if a property is valued at $1,000,000 and is left vacant for more than six months, the owner would be required to pay a tax of $10,000 (1% of $1,000,000).

One of the main goals of the vacant home tax is to increase the availability of housing units in the city. With a growing population and high demand for housing, the vacant home tax aims to incentivize property owners to put their units on the market, rather than leaving them vacant. This can help to increase the supply of housing and make it more affordable for those in need.

Another goal of the vacant home tax is to raise revenue for the city. The tax generates funds that can be used to support affordable housing initiatives and other programs that benefit the community.

Exemptions include: principal residence, death, repairs, units undergoing major renovation, owner is in care or hospital, court order, transfer of legal ownership and occupancy for full time employment is in place. Homeowners who choose to keep their properties vacant and do not qualify for the exemptions will be subject to this tax.

All residential property owners in Toronto will be required to declare the status of their property(s) annually, even if they live there. Declarations must be made by the homeowner or someone acting on behalf of the homeowner. Make a declaration through the City’s secure online declaration portal using  your 21-digit assessment roll number and customer number from your tax bill or property tax account statement. The declaration will determine whether the Vacant Home Tax applies and is payable. A declaration form will need to be completed by property owners by February 2, 2023. 

Residential properties will be deemed vacant if the owner fails to make the annual declaration by the deadline and/or provide supporting documentation.

Overall, the Toronto Vacant Home Tax is a policy that aims to address the issue of housing affordability and encourage the use of under-utilized housing units. While it has the potential to generate revenue and increase the availability of housing, it also raises concerns about its potential impact on property owners and the overall housing market in Toronto.

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