Saturday, March 21, 2009

Toronto proposing property tax relief for elderly, disabled

Toronto is trying to spread the word about the property tax relief for low-income seniors and the disabled proposed in the 2009 operating budget.

While the programs have existed, city manager Joe Pennachetti said there hasn’t been much take-up in the past and Toronto wants to make sure those eligible are aware of the help being extended. Contingent on council approval of the budget, the city wants to enhance both it’s property tax cancellation and deferral programs.

Households with an income of $30,000 or less living in a home with an assess value of under $525,000 can apply to have their property taxes cancelled.

That’s up from a household income of $26,000 or below in a dwelling of less than $464,000, which was the criteria last year.

Mr. Pennachetti said the city wants to sweeten the program by 15%, so 19,150 Toronto households can qualify in 2009, up from 16,750 last year.

But he said the offer was only taken up by 20% of eligible seniors and disabled people last year. (Families or individuals in similar situations who are under-age 65 and who are able-bodied do not qualify.)

The take-up for the interest-free property tax deferral program was only a paltry 1-2% last year, Mr. Pennachetti added.

This year the city wants to expand eligibility to 82,000 households with an income under $50,000, up 35% from 62,000 households with an income below $40,000 last year.

The city will be sending out a brochure about the program enhancements when property tax bills are mailed out in May – as long as the measures receive council approval at the end of this month.

Related Posts: Reassessment + shifting of property tax burden = 4% hike for homeowners by Allison Hanes

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