An annual tax is being levied on vacant Toronto residences, payable beginning in 2023.
A property is considered vacant if it was not used as the principal residence by the owner(s) or any permitted occupant(s), or was not occupied by tenants for a total of six months or more during the previous calendar year. Properties may also be deemed (or considered to be) vacant if an owner fails to make a declaration of occupancy status as outlined in the bylaw.
The goal of the City of Toronto’s Vacant Home Tax (VHT) is to increase the supply of housing by discouraging owners from leaving their residential properties unoccupied. Homeowners who choose to keep their properties vacant will be subject to this tax.
Though all homeowners are required to submit a declaration of occupancy status, the tax does not apply to:
Revenues collected from the Vacant Home Tax will be allocated towards affordable housing initiatives.
All residential property owners in Toronto are required to declare the occupancy status of their property(s) annually, even if they live there. Declarations must be made by the homeowner or someone acting on behalf of the owner. The declaration determines whether the Vacant Home Tax applies and is payable.
A Vacant Home Tax of one per cent of the Current Value Assessment (CVA) will be levied on all Toronto residences that are declared, deemed or determined vacant for more than six months during the previous year. For example, if the CVA of your property is $1,000,000, the tax amount billed would be $10,000 (1% x $1,000,000).
The tax is based on the property’s occupancy status for the previous year. For example, if the home is vacant in 2022 the tax will become payable in 2023.
The deadline for homeowners to declare the 2022 occupancy status of their residential property in Toronto has passed.
The process to make the annual declaration will be the same for 2023 and beyond: You will need your 21-digit assessment roll number and the customer number from your property tax bill or property tax account statement.
Declarations of occupancy status should be made through the City’s secure online declaration portal. If required, homeowners can complete a paper declaration form.
For residential properties that are not occupied by the homeowner(s), an audit may be required. If the City conducts an audit, owners may be required to submit information or documentation about tenants and/or permitted occupants to confirm occupancy during the taxation period.
For residential properties declared as vacant for six months or more during the taxation year and without an eligible exemption, owners will be required to pay the Vacant Home Tax.
Owners of properties subject to the tax will be issued a Vacant Home Tax Notice in March/April and payment will be due in three instalments in May, June and July.
Residential properties will be deemed vacant if the owner fails to make the annual declaration by the deadline and/or provide supporting documentation.
If there is an error in the declaration you submitted, you can:
Failure to declare or making a false declaration may result in a fine of $250 to $10,000.
|Occupancy Status||Description||Subject to Vacant Home Tax?|
|Occupied as principal residence of homeowner||The property is where you reside and conduct your daily affairs, receive mail, pay bills, etc. You can only have one principal residence. This applies even if you leave for extended periods of time due to travel (for example, snowbirds who spend more than six months away from their principal residence) or work. The property must be your principal residence for at least six months during the taxation year to claim this type of occupancy status.||No|
|Occupied as principal residence of a permitted occupant||A person(s) that is authorized by the registered owner to use a residential property as their principal residence. A permitted occupant is not a tenant or subtenant. A permitted occupant may include but is not limited to a family member or a friend of the registered owner.||No|
|Occupied as a tenanted property||A residential property that is occupied by a person(s) that has a written tenancy agreement for a term of at least 30 days to occupy the property for residential purposes. The property must be occupied by one or more tenants for six months or more throughout the year.||No|
|Vacant with an eligible exemption||A residential owner may declare the property vacant with an eligible exemption.||No|
|Vacant or deemed/determined vacant||A property can be “declared” vacant by the homeowner through their declaration of occupancy status. A property will be “deemed” vacant if the owner fails to make a property status declaration. A property that has been selected for audit, or on review for a Notice of Complaint or appeal can be “determined” to be vacant upon completion of the review.||Yes|
A property may be left vacant and be exempt from the Vacant Home Tax if one of the following criteria is met:
|Eligible Exemption||Description||Supporting Documentation|
|Death of a registered owner||The property was vacant for six months or more in the previous year due to the death of an owner.||Copy of death certificate.|
|Repairs or renovations||The vacant property is undergoing repairs or renovations, and all the following conditions have been met:
a) occupation and normal use of the vacant property is prevented by the repairs and renovations;
|Description of the type of project preventing occupancy.
Copy of building permits issued related to the repairs and renovations.
|Principal resident is in care||The principal resident of the vacant property is in a hospital, long term or supportive care facility for at least six months during the taxation year. This exemption may be claimed for up to two consecutive taxation years.||Signed letter from health care facility on letterhead.|
|Transfer of legal ownership||You purchased your property with a closing in the taxation year being declared, and the sale involved a 100 per cent transfer of an interest in the property to an unrelated individual or corporation. This excludes name changes, adding a second owner and removing a second owner.||Copy of land transfer deed.|
|Occupancy for full-time employment||The vacant property is required for occupation for employment purposes for a total of at least six months in the taxation year, by its owner who has a principal residence outside of the Greater Toronto Area.||Proof of residency outside of Greater Toronto Area.
Signed letter from employer on company letterhead or employment contract.
|Court order||There is a court order in force which prohibits occupancy of the vacant property for at least six months of the taxation year.||Copy of court order.|
To ensure your payment reaches the City on or before the due date, we suggest making your payment electronically through MyToronto Pay or through your financial institution’s online banking portal.
MyToronto Pay is a new service from the City of Toronto in collaboration with our trusted partner PayIt. Using MyToronto Pay, Vacant Home Tax payments can be made by electronic funds transfer with no convenience fee, or by credit card or debit card with a convenience fee charged by the company.
You can pay the Vacant Home Tax at banks or financial institutions through online banking, telephone banking, at an automated teller machine (ATM) or in-person.
To register and pay through online banking:
|Name of Financial Institution||Payee Listing for Vacant Home Tax|
|BMO (Bank of Montreal)||Toronto, City of, Taxes|
|CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)||Toronto Tax|
|National Bank||City of Toronto Taxes|
|RBC (Royal Bank of Canada)||City of Toronto Property Taxes|
|Scotiabank||Toronto (City) Property Tax|
|TD Canada Trust||Toronto Tax|
If your bank is not listed, please contact your financial institution for information.
Payee information is subject to change without notice. If you require assistance, please contact your bank or financial institution.
The City accepts post-dated cheques payable to the Treasurer, City of Toronto:
Treasurer, City of Toronto
Toronto, ON M2N 5V1
The City’s Property Tax and Utilities Inquiry & Payment Counters have reopened.
You can make payment by cash, cheque, money order, Visa, MasterCard, American Express or debit card. If making payment via drop box, cheque or money order is accepted.
The Vacant Home Tax has implications for property transactions, both for purchasers and vendors:
A declaration of occupancy status may be selected for audit on a random or specific criteria basis. If selected for audit, the City will require the owner to provide information and evidence to substantiate their claim of occupancy of a residential property or any exemption.
If your declaration of occupancy status is selected for audit you may be required to submit supporting documentation. Examples of supporting documentation include but are not limited to:
Please note, the above examples of supporting documentation will only be requested if your declaration of occupancy status is selected for an audit.
All records and documents pertaining to the occupation of the residential property or any exemption claimed must be retained for a period of three years.
If you disagree with the Vacant Home Tax Notice of Assessment or Supplementary Assessment Notice, you will have an opportunity to file a Notice of Complaint to have the City review your property’s status.
A Notice of Complaint can be submitted online once the portal opens.
You may file a Notice of Complaint if:
Your complaint form must include:
Your complaint must be received within the following time frames:
You may be asked to provide additional information or documentation in relation to your complaint. Failure to provide the additional information will result in your complaint not being considered. Once all required information and evidence is received, the City will provide a response in writing within 30 days from the date the determination is made.
If you disagree with the decision made on your Notice of Complaint, you will have 90 days to submit an appeal request. An appeal is limited to the same issues raised in your initial complaint unless the outcome of your complaint resulted in a reassessment or varied assessment.
Your Appeal can be submitted through the online portal and must include:
Upon receipt of your appeal request, your submission will be reviewed within 90 days by the Appellate Authority. The Appellate Authority will make a determination to allow or dismiss the appeal in whole or in part.
Following the determination the City will vacate, vary or reconsider the assessment within 30 days. The appeal decision is final.
The by-law includes provisions for penalties for failure to pay and fines for various offences.
Interest applies to any overdue Vacant Home Tax amount at a rate of 1.25 per cent on the first day of default and on the first day of each month thereafter, for as long as taxes or charges remain unpaid.
Upon default of payment, the unpaid amount will be added to the property tax roll for the residential property and will be collected in the same manner as property taxes.
A Dishonoured Cheque Processing / Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) fee will be applied to all payments that are not honoured by a financial institution.
If you did not make a declaration of your property’s occupancy status by the February 28, 2023 deadline, a fine of $250 may be issued.
Failure to make a declaration will result in your property being deemed vacant. Once deemed vacant, your property will be subject to the tax and you will be issued a Vacancy Tax Notice.
Being found guilty of breaking any of the following offences will result in a fine of $250 to $10,000 for each offence, including:
In 2019, City Council asked for information related to the possible implementation of a vacant home tax in Toronto. At their December 2020 meeting, City Council asked City staff to develop key tax design features and administrative structures to support a vacant home tax program and to report back with a recommended design for a vacant home tax by the end of the second quarter of 2021, for tax implementation in 2022.
At its meeting on July 14-15, 2021, City Council approved the development and implementation of a vacant home tax in Toronto. At its meeting on December 15, 16 and 17, 2021, City Council amended the City of Toronto Municipal Code, adding Chapter 778, Taxation, Vacant Home Tax.