Tax and assessment rates vary from municipality to municipality. Please see the Taxes and Assessment page within this website under Govern. Assessments & Taxation.
The statutory duties previously performed by the Ministry of Finance - Assessment Branch were transferred to the Ontario Property Assessment Corporation (OPAC) in 1997. The Corporation has since become the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) and delivers a broad range of assessment services to municipalities. The transfer of the financial responsibility for assessment services took place on January 1, 1998. MPAC recovers its costs from municipalities using a formula which recognizes both municipal demands for services and a municipality's ability to pay. MPAC invoices upper and single tier municipalities.
With the changes in the delivery of property assessment services came property tax reform which was intended to introduce a fair and accountable system of property assessment and taxation. The former system brought about significant inequities in the taxation of properties across Ontario, with sizable variations in the tax burdens of ratepayers owning similar properties. The province enacted several pieces of legislation to lessen the impacts of such a large change in assessment methodology. The new Ontario Fair Assessment System brings consistency to assessment across the Province, leading to a simpler, more up-to-date property tax system that is less costly to administer. The assessment of land is based on current value, as measured by the price that would be paid between a willing buyer and a willing seller at arm's length.
Under the system, properties are divided into seven standard property classes established by the province. These include residential/farm, multi-residential, commercial, industrial, pipeline, farmlands, and managed forests. Each tax class may have sub-classes and all may be taxed at a different rate.
Upper and single tier municipalities are responsible for making tax policy decisions that are sensitive to local needs and priorities on an annual basis. Tax ratios express the relationship that the tax rate for each property class in the municipality bears to the tax rate for the residential/farm property class. The apportionment of the tax burden both within and between tax classes is revisited each year through the examination of:
- updated assessment related impacts
- tax ratio relationships
- tax tools
- other tax policies (discounts for vacant units, farmlands awaiting development, charitable rebates, etc.)
Within Leeds and Grenville this responsibility has been done in a co-operative approach with local treasurers and county staff meeting to review these responsibilities and making recommendations to the Governance and Finance Committee of Counties Council. Counties Council, in turn, has been responsive to the recommendations made and has been proactive in the vision of creating a competitive economic environment in Leeds and Grenville for all property classes.
Once the Counties levy requirements have been determined for the current year, tax rates are calculated for each of the property tax classes.
In addition to the Counties establishing tax rates for county purposes, the Province establishes school board tax rates and each of the local municipalities in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville establish tax rates for their own purpose.
Municipalities are required by the Provincial Government to limit the tax increases due to reassessment for commercial, industrial and multi-residential properties to 5 per cent of the previous year's taxes. This program is called "Capping". In order to fund the capped tax increases, the legislation allows Council to phase in tax decreases to businesses and apartments that realized a tax decrease reassessment by clawing back.
In addition, municipalities were provided with optional tools to help mitigate tax increases among businesses. Municipalities are also required to provide measures of tax relief to eligible seniors and the disabled, and qualifying charities.
As part of the Counties continued co-operation with its member municipalities, Dave Publow in his role as Assessment & Taxation Co-ordinator provides a variety of responsibilities to assist municipalities. These include:
- working on behalf of the Counties and all local municipalities on assessment and taxation matters.
- working with Chief Building Officials of the local municipalities, analyse supplemental and omit assessment rolls to ensure building permits are processed in a timely fashion by MPAC.
- liaising with Government Ministries and Agencies such as Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ministry of Finance and MPAC concerning various assessment and taxation matters.
- working with County Staff and local municipalities' Clerks and Treasurers to formulate tax policy for discussion and approval by Counties Council and ensuring that all by-laws affected by new assessment and taxation legislation are brought to the attention of the Manager of Accounting Services/Deputy Treasurer to be updated.
- ensuring that assessment adjustments and appeals on all major commercial, and industrial properties are reviewed with local municipalities before being implemented by MPAC.
- liaising and following up with the local MPAC Office to ensure that apportionment requests and Section 442 and 443 applications are completed promptly.
- working with municipalities to develop policies and procedures for the Vacancy Rebate Program.
- making alterations to the 1997 frozen assessment roll as necessary to reflect changes in use or physical character of property.
reviewing the assessment on property owned or in which the County has an interest, as requested.
- other matters relating to assessment and taxation, or other matters within the Assessment & Taxation Co-ordinator's expertise that may arise as mutually agreed upon.
This department also provides other corporate departments with analysis of current value assessments of county owned property as well as financial and economic analysis.