Friday, January 25, 2008

Ontario Freeze on Property Tax Assessment Lifted

In 2006, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty placed a freeze on property tax assessments in the Province that is now being lifted.

CTV. News reports:

Homeowners are going to be "shocked" when they learn how much their property assessment has soared, Ontario's Opposition Leader John Tory said Thursday.

He said property values have gone up dramatically over the last three years during the time Premier Dalton McGuinty imposed a freeze on property assessments.

"Everybody across the province, when you have three years of pent-up assessment increases that haven't shown up on the papers, everybody is going to be shocked at the numbers and in many cases it will lead to tax increases which people can't afford right now -- plain and simple," he told reporters.
On the other hand, the Toronto Star reports the following:
Apparently, house prices have jumped 20 per cent across Toronto in the last while. So fear-mongers have been warning citizens to expect a 20 per cent jump in property taxes once the freeze is lifted on assessments this summer.

Utter nonsense.

In fact, if your property has gone up less than 20 per cent in value, you'll be getting a tax cut.
If it jumped exactly 20 per cent, you're whistling along, unaffected. And if you're fortunate enough to live in a hot neighbourhood like Riverdale, where prices have jumped 31 per cent, then you are staring at an 11 per cent increase – the difference between the mean increase and your high point.

Yes, double-digit hikes are not pleasant, but even these come with an ameliorative plan. The Ontario government, which created the problem by freezing assessments for two years, says it will phase in the new hikes over four years.

So Riverdalians are facing a rise in property taxes of less than 3 per cent per year – not nearly the apocalyptic scenario circulating this week.
Ontario home owners will be able to decide the impact of the lift for themselves in late summer of this year when the new assessments are scheduled to be sent out.

- Annie Noa Kenet, Toronto

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