FOCA’s Property Tax Position – OVERVIEW

FOCA advocates for fair property taxation on behalf of waterfront residential property taxpayers in Ontario. FOCA carries on our long-term interests, previously delivered through WRAFT (Waterfront Ratepayers After Fair Taxation) and CAPTR (Coalition After Property Tax Reform).

Ontario’s Current Value Assessment system has been described as the “worst possible way to apportion social costs – except for all the other ways.” This system can penalize some properties, and confuses almost everyone.

FOCA’s position on the major issues with the current residential property tax system in Ontario:

“Downloading” by the Province onto municipalities, and hence property owners in Ontario, is higher than all the rest of Canada. This inordinate local funding burden amplifies the unfairness inherent when property value is the sole determinant of how much an individual who pays for a lengthy list of municipal obligations. FOCA believes the provincial government must hasten and broaden the provincial role in financially supporting social services through provincial income taxes, which has only partially been addressed in the recommendations of the 2008 Provincial Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review.

The use of current value assessments (CVA), as a means to calculate property owners’ payments for municipal services received, continues to unfairly distribute social costs. There are precedents in other North American jurisdictions for a fairer process, acknowledging that there are municipal services that should not be paid for solely on the basis of the value of one’s property.  To use pure CVA to calculate tax obligations amounts to a tax on unrealized capital gains.

Failing to address the shortcomings within the current process will contribute to instability in many Ontario communities, forcing the untimely disposition of family assets.  This is only one unfortunate if unintended consequence from the current instable and unpredictable property tax system.  It is FOCA’s contention that the Province must forthwith take concrete steps to address the instability and unpredictability of property taxation in Ontario.

Michelle LewinFOCA’s Property Tax Position – OVERVIEW