Property Taxes

Property Tax Rebate for Vacant Commercial and Industrial Buildings

Property Tax Rebate Program for Vacant Commercial
and Industrial Buildings

You may qualify for a vacancy tax rebate, if your commercial or industrial building was entirely or partially vacant during the taxation year and you meet the eligibility criteria, as outlined in Section 331 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006. You must submit three copies of the application on or before the deadline date.

Eligibility Criteria

For an applicant to be eligible for a rebate, the property must have a building that must satisfy the conditions described in category 1, 2 or 3 below:

Category 1- Commercial and/or industrial buildings that are
entirely vacant:

  • The entire building must be unused for at least 90 consecutive days

Category 2 - Commercial buildings that are partially vacant:

  • The vacant portion of the building must be unused for at least 90 consecutive days and;
  • The vacant portion of the building must be clearly delineated or physically separated from the used portions of the building; and
  • The building must be either:
    • Capable of being leased for immediate occupancy; or
    • Undergoing or in need of repairs, renovations, or construction that prevented it from being available for lease for immediate occupation; or
    • Unfit for Occupation

Category 3 - Industrial buildings that are partially vacant:

  • The portion of the building must be unused for at least 90 consecutive days; and
  • The portion of the building must be clearly delineated or physically separated from the used portions of the building.

For applications under any of the three categories, property taxes must be paid in full as billed. Tax rebates from successful applications will be processed separately.


Properties NOT Eligible for a Rebate:

An applicant is not eligible to apply for a vacant unit rebate if during that period being claimed a building or portion of a building is:

  • used for commercial or industrial activity on a seasonal basis;
  • leased to a tenant who is possession of the leasehold interest; and
  • included in a vacant land subclass.

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Verification Documents and Process

You must submit three copies of your application. Keep a copy for your records.

All applicants must provide appropriate documentation as evidence to support their application. The supporting documents must clearly identify the vacant unit or location, the square footage of the vacant area claimed and the vacancy period. The City will use the documents supplied in the initial application verification process.

The following documents may be submitted as proof, provided that they clearly meet the requirements above:

  • A copy of a fully executed expired and fully executed current lease, including all signature pages. When submitting a current lease, you must include any sections that allow rent free use or early occupancy to the tenant before the commencement period begins. For 2007 and subsequent taxation years, fixturing (renovation) periods are not considered early occupancy for the unit(s) being applied for;
  • A copy of a Termination or Bailiff Notice (when a tenant has broken the terms of their lease);
  • A copy of the rent roll for the property. A rent roll that is handwritten, typed, or prepared on a spreadsheet/word processing software package will not be accepted unless supported by other verification documents;
  • A copy of a real estate agent's listing agreement or a copy of a newspaper/internet advertisement. All advertisements must contain the date of the ad.

If the above documents are not available, an applicant may submit an affidavit that indicates that there are no other documents available. A person with personal knowledge of the facts must swear the affidavit. The affidavit must reference that an application is being made under Section 331 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006 and identify the following:

  • subject property by address;
  • assessment roll number;
  • taxation year;
  • property tax class;
  • eligibility criteria category which applies;
  • vacant unit or location;
  • vacancy period;
  • square footage of the vacant area claimed;
  • name, address and telephone number of the individual notarizing the affidavit.


NOTE:

One original affidavit per application is to be submitted. You cannot submit an affidavit for a prior year's application to support an application for the current taxation year.

A sample affidavit is available by calling Property Tax Rebates at, 416-395-0075.

Once the City has completed an initial verification of your application and supporting documents, a secondary verification process may be required. A secondary verification will include a request for further documentation or a site inspection of the property. If a site inspection is required, the City of Toronto will notify the applicant/agent in writing. An employee of the City of Toronto or its authorized agent will then contact the applicant/agent to arrange a site inspection at a mutually agreed date and time.

Any person representing the City of Toronto will have proper identification and, upon a reasonable request, must be given free access to all of the property referred to in the application. Every adult person present on the property during the site inspection shall give the representative of the City of Toronto all the information within his or her knowledge that will assist in determining the proper amount of the rebate.

Every person who is required to provide information and who fails to do so is guilty of an offence and, on conviction, is liable to a fine of $100 for each day during which the default continues. Failure to comply with such requests will also lead to the denial of the application.

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Document Retention and Proof of Submission of Application

You must retain a copy of your application form for a period of six (6) years. The City does not provide copies.

It is your responsibility to retain proof of submission of your application. Proof of submission can be in the form of an additional copy of your application stamped "received" by the City if delivered in person to one of the Tax and Water Enquiry counters, a copy of your registered or certified mail receipt or a copy of your fax confirmation report along with the full document.

In person:
If you are personally delivering your application form to a Tax and Water Enquiry counter at any Civic Centre, or City Hall. Please bring an extra copy so the Customer Service Representative can stamp your copy as received.

Fax: 416-696-3623
If you are submitting your application via fax, you must retain your fax confirmation report along with the full document. NOTE: Sending personal information via fax is not a secure means of transmission

E-mail: revrebt@toronto.ca
If you are e-mailing your application, you must retain a copy of your e-mail, your e-mail properties page showing that the e-mail was sent and a copy of your documents.

Courier:
Revenue Services Division
Property Tax Rebates
City of Toronto
5100 Yonge Street, Lower Level
Toronto, ON M2N 5V7

If you are delivering your application by courier, please retain a copy of your courier-signed receipt and a copy of your documents.

Mail:
Revenue Services Division
Property Tax Rebates
City of Toronto
5100 Yonge Street, Lower Level
Toronto, ON M2N 5V7

General mail delivery does not provide proof of delivery. Proof of delivery via mail can be done through the use of Certified Mail or Registered Mail.

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Assessment Changes and Effects on Rebates

If the property's assessment is subsequently changed as a result of an Assessment Appeal, Court Decision, Request for Reconsideration (RfR) or a Tax Appeal, any related rebate amount for that taxation year will be recalculated.

If a rebate has already been issued, the City of Toronto will notify the property owner of the recalculated rebate amount. The City of Toronto will recover any excess amount that was paid to the property owner and refund/credit any amount that was under paid to the property owner for the taxation year for which an application is made.
 

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Application Forms

Three copies of your application and supporting documents must be submitted. Keep a copy for your records.

A maximum of two applications per property per year may be submitted:

  • One application (Full Year) can be submitted for all vacancies that occurred on the property during the entire tax year (any period from January - December) or
  • One application (Interim) for the vacancies that occurred during the first six months of the year (any period from Jan - June) and a second application for vacancies that occurred during the last six months (Partial) of the year (any period from July to December).

An application should not be submitted before the vacancy period being applied for has elapsed.

If a vacancy occurs after October 3rd within a taxation year, this would not qualify as a vacancy for the year unless the vacancy continued into the next taxation year for a long enough period to meet the eligibility criteria.

If the vacancy continues into the next taxation year and meets the eligibility criteria, an application must be submitted for both years; one covering the period from October 3rd to the end of that taxation year, and a second application for the following taxation year for the same vacant space. The applicant also has the option to include this period on the application that relates to the next taxation year. For example, a vacancy that commenced after October 3rd, 2007 can be added to a 2008 vacancy rebate application. Please note that a vacancy that truly did not commence after October 3rd of a taxation year is not eligible for this type of treatment.

The prior year's vacancy period will then be added to the following year's period to determine if the vacancy meets the eligibility requirements. All regular deadline dates apply to these types of vacancy applications.

Information and applications are available:

  • at any Civic Centre and City Hall
  • upon request by calling a Revenue Services Customer Service Representative at 416-338-4829
  • online

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Who Can Apply for a Rebate?

The following persons can apply for a rebate:

The property owner

The Assessed Owner of the property may apply for a vacancy rebate for the period of time during the year that they own the property. If a property is sold during a year in which a vacancy rebate is being sought, the owner who is selling the property may only apply for a rebate for the period during which they owned the property. A new or subsequent owner must apply for the vacancy for the period of time that they own the property. Both the vendor and purchaser must meet the eligibility criteria for the rebate.

The property owner's lawyer or registered paralegal

The property owner's lawyer may apply on behalf of the owner without having a letter of authorization. Registered paralegals may also apply on behalf of the owner. Paralegal candidates listed on the Candidates list of the Law Society of Upper Canada also do not require a letter of authorization from the owner to act on their behalf.

The property owner's agent or authorized representative

The property owner may designate another person other than a lawyer or registered paralegal to act on their behalf in the matter of the Vacant Unit Rebate application. That person must have either a Letter of Authorization from the owner of the property to act on their behalf or, the owner must complete the appropriate agent section on the application. A copy of the Letter of Authorization must be submitted with the application if the agent section is not completed. If an owner wants the City of Toronto to deal exclusively with the agent, the Letter of Authorization must explain in detail what information the City may share with the agent.

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How a Rebate is Calculated?

The amount of the rebate for commercial properties will be 30 per cent of the tax attributable to the eligible vacant space. For industrial properties the rebate will be 35 per cent of the tax attributable to the eligible vacant space.

Rebate amount =
 

value of
vacant area   
X   total
com./ind.   
X   # days
of vacancy   
X   rebate
percentage
com./ind. CVA tax levied # days in year


CVA= Current Value Assessment, Com= Commercial, Ind= Industrial

When the rebate has been processed, a determination notice indicating the amount of the rebate will be issued to the applicant/agent. The City of Toronto has the authority to credit all or part of the rebate owing against an outstanding tax liability of the owner. If no tax liability exists, a refund will be issued within 4 to 6 weeks to the owner of the property.

If the owner perceives the amount of the rebate to be too low, you can file a complaint with the Assessment Review Board (ARB). The complaint must be in writing within 120 days after the City of Toronto mails its determination.

For more information about the complaint process contact the ARB at 1-800-263-3237. If you file a complaint with the ARB, please provide the Property Tax Rebates Section with the Statement of Issues as early as possible during the complaint process to determine if a resolution can be expedited. Upon receiving the Statement of Issues, the City of Toronto will review the calculation of the rebate amount and where appropriate, prepare Minutes of Settlement to settle the appeal.

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Application Process

The following steps are followed by the City of Toronto with respect to the processing of a vacancy rebate application:

  • The property owner or authorized representative submits an application that is received by The City of Toronto
  • The application is forwarded to the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) for a determination of the assessment value associated with the eligible vacant portion of the property
  • The initial verification process begins. Documents are reviewed and additional requests for documentation are made if required
  • The secondary verification process may be required. The secondary verification may include a property inspection or a request for further information
  • MPAC determines and provides the assessed value of the eligible vacant property to the City of Toronto
  • The City of Toronto verifies the claim based on the evidentiary (supporting) documents provided
  • The City of Toronto calculates the amount of the rebate and notifies the property owner/agent
  • The vacancy credit is refunded to the applicant or applied to outstanding property taxes

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Penalties for False Information

Any person who knowingly makes a false or deceptive statement in an application made to the City or in any other document submitted to the City under this section is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than an amount that is twice the amount of the rebate obtained or sought to be obtained by the false or deceptive statement except that the fine shall not be less than $500.

Information and applications are available:

  • any Civic Centre and City Hall
  • upon request by calling a Customer Service Representative at 416-338-4829
  • online


Three copies of your application and supporting documents must be submitted and you must also retain a copy for your records.

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Deadlines

For any property that receives an omitted property tax bill in respect of either of the two taxation years, the deadline for making an application is 90 days after the day the assessment notice is mailed to the owner.

Applications received after the deadline will not be accepted.

The owner of a property is responsible for ensuring that the application is received by the City of Toronto on time and for retaining proof of submission of application and a copy of the application.

View the Vacant Unit Rebate deadlines.

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