Changes to the Vacancy Tax Rebate and Reduction Programs for Commercial and Industrial Properties
As of January 1, 2017, the Province of Ontario provided municipalities with the ability to tailor their vacant rebate and reduction programs to reflect community needs and to encourage the use of vacant properties in support of economic growth and sustainable communities.
The vacant unit rebate and subclass reduction programs have provided tax rebates or reductions to property owners who had eligible vacancies in commercial and industrial buildings or land. Eligible properties have received a rebate or reduction of 30 percent for vacant commercial space or land or 35 percent for vacant industrial space or land.
In 2017, a recommendation was made to County Council to eliminate these programs at the end of the 2018 year. Some of the considerations for this recommendation included that it was a business benefit being subsidized by all property classes in Renfrew County, it was a benefit not available to other types of property (e.g. multi-residential) and the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) already does factor a vacancy allowance/reduced income within the initial assessment.
In December 2018, these changes were approved as per Ontario Regulation 490/18 (vacant and excess land subclasses) and Ontario Regulation 491/18 (vacant unit rebate) and effective January 1, 2019 the vacancy tax rebate and reduction programs for commercial and industrial properties were eliminated.