What Toronto Property Owners Need to Understand about Real Estate Taxes

19 June 2013

Toronto is the only municipality in Canada with TWO Land Transfer Taxes. That means buyers are paying a disproportionate tax load to operate City services. Who benefits? It is the existing property owners whose tax rates are too low in comparison to other surrounding municipalities. A semi-detached sold in Bloor West Village for $890,000. It is 2672 sf and had property taxes of $4293 in 2012. Compare that to a semi-detached in Ajax that sold for $340,000. It is 1650 sf and had property taxes of $3100. If the Bloor West semi paid the same tax rate as Ajax, taxes would have been $8114. People in Toronto always argue that values are higher in Toronto and that it is not fair to make that comparison. So what about taxes on a per square foot basis? Even in this flawed argument, taxes for the Bloor West semi would increase to $5020 per year. By paying TWO Land Transfer Taxes, buyers are simply prepaying their annual property taxes. If you want to get rid of the City Land Transfer Tax, you also need to increase Residential Property Taxes to approach those paid by owners in the 905 Region. You want more public transit? Forget about raising new taxes, just increase existing residential property taxes to levels paid by surrounding municipalities!!