Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclass Designation – Live Music Venues program is now closed. Through this program, the City of Toronto will provide $1.7 million in property tax relief for 45 live music venues impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Live Music Venues

The Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclass helps support the sustainability and growth of creative enterprises in Toronto. If you have questions about the program, please contact livemusicvenuetax@toronto.ca.

The expansion of the Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclasses to include live music venues is part of the City’s COVID-19 recovery efforts and is consistent with City Council directives to promote Toronto as a city that values music and musicians. It is intended that this measure will remain in place beyond this year to support the long-term viability of the live music sector.

City of Toronto recognizes the public benefit generated by its live music venues, which are the training ground and launch pad for musical careers and need critical support in the face of ongoing pressures that threaten to close dozens of local venues. Successful applicants that meet the eligibility criteria would receive a 50 per cent reduction in property taxes for the 2020 taxation year.

A Live Music Venue is a venue at which Live Music Performances occur. A Live Music Performance is a performance by individual musical artists or groups of musical artists of original or non-original (cover) musical works on instruments, vocally or on equipment conventionally used to perform jazz, rock, folk, classical, R&B, hip hop, global, experimental, and other genres of music, and includes performances by electronic musical artists and DJs using digital equipment, software, or turntables to create musical performances for an audience, but excludes the simple playback of recorded music without a creative role being played by the DJ.

A qualifying property must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible under the Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclasses.

Venue infrastructure

The Live Music Venue must have a minimum of four amenities or types of equipment listed below:

  • fixed stage or stage area
  • sound booth or desk with sound board
  • artist dressing room
  • window, booth, or established point where tickets or cover charges are collected
  • audio equipment (amplified PA system with microphones and/or backline)
  • performance or stage lighting

Bookings and compensation

The Live Music Venue must:

  • present live music a minimum of 144 days annually, or in the case(s) due to venues being closed by emergency orders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic present live music 40 per cent of all operating days within the calendar year
  • artists must be compensated for performances (through a percentage of bar sales or door cover, or as agreed via a formal or informal contract), and must not be charged for the use of the stage or equipment.

Please note: confirmation of bookings can be provided in the form of a copy of the venue’s 2019 booking calendar or of the venue’s archived 2019 online schedule.

Employment

The Live Music Venue must employ regular venue staff or contract workers to fulfil a minimum of two of the roles listed below connected with the venue’s live music programming (note that one staff position may fulfil more than one role):

  • venue booker
  • event promoter
  • audio technician
  • stage manager
  • door person/venue security

Length of operations

The Live Music Venue must have been in operation as a Live Music Venue, for a minimum of six months prior to applying for inclusion in the Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclasses.

Maximum capacity

The Live Music Venue must have a maximum capacity of no more than 1,500 persons as defined by occupant load, in the eligible portions of the Live Music Venue.

Applicants must submit a completed application form, signed by the property owner, by Friday, June 19 at 5 p.m. The application form must be accompanied by the following mandatory supporting documents:

  1. if live music venue is leased, evidence of lease
  2. music bookings and artist compensation:
    1. confirmation of bookings can be provided in the form of a copy of the venue’s 2019 booking calendar, the venue’s archived 2019 online schedule or the venue’s 2020 booking calendar (January 1– March 15)
    2. three to five samples of confirmation of artist compensation (for example, contracts or written agreements in emails) as evidence of regular venue operations
  3. evidence of employment (for example, contracts, job descriptions or email communication) for regular venue staff or contract workers to fulfil a minimum of two of the roles listed below connected with the venue’s live music programming (note that one staff position may fulfil more than one role):
    1. venue booker
    2. event promoter
    3. audio technician
    4. stage manager
    5. door person/venue security
  4. evidence of six months of operations, if not clearly evident in bookings confirmation above
  5. evidence of Occupancy Load (scanned image of license will suffice).

The property as a whole must meet the requirements of a qualifying property. The portion of the qualifying property that is eligible for inclusion in the Creative Co-location Facilities property tax subclass is assessed, once the property is deemed eligible.

Qualifying properties that meet all eligibility criteria are then officially re-classified into the subclass via bylaw enacted by Toronto City Council. Property Assessment Notice will be issued by Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).
Financial assistance from government programs may have tax implications for your business. It is recommended that advice be obtained from a qualified tax professional before applying.

If your property meets the qualifying criteria, please email the completed application form and accompanying documentation to livemusicvenuetax@toronto.ca. Due to the limited amount of time available to process applications, incomplete applications cannot be considered. If you have any questions, please contact livemusicvenuetax@toronto.ca.