Report on Provincial Land Tax Information Sessions:

Our Association attended sessions in both Kenora and Dryden on Aug 19 & 20 2008.

The Ministry of Finance had representatives on hand to do a 15 minute presentation and then answered questions for about 90 minutes.

The basic theory of the Province has been that there are about 68,000 Provincial Land Tax Accounts and they raise about $10.8 million in taxes from the Provincial Land Tax. They are expecting that with the new reform the same amount of revenue will be generated but they will be using a Current Market Value Assessment to determine the amount each property will pay.

The Province expects that ½ the properties within school board boundaries will see a tax decrease. They are expecting that of properties that see a tax increase, 90% will see an increase of less than $150.

Their presentation produced a chart that indicated what they expect to see from the unincorporated tax payer.

Maximum PLT Rates 2009-2012 (current PLT Rate 1.5 per cent)

Property Classes

Maximum Tax Rate Inside School Board

Maximum Tax Rate Outside School Board

Residential/Multi Residential

0.0023

0.0004

Farmland/Managed Forest

0.0006

0.0001

Commercial

0.0012

0.0012

Industrial

0.0006

0.0006

They stated that the indicated tax rate will not increase and is a maximum rate. Once the new assessment lists are produced they will be mailed out to the property owners in the fall of 2008 they can then use the assessed value of their property and the rates above to calculate the Provincial Land Tax you will pay.

Estimating PLT

Estimated 2008 Value of Property (what it’s worth)

Multiplied by

Maximum PLT tax rate 2009-2012

Equals

PLT Payable annually 2009-2012

The Ministry of Finance will send out the tax bills sometime in June (their estimated new mailing date) and each bill will now include an itemized accounting of the bill.

For example it will show your PLT cost, your board of education cost and if the Local Services Board or Local Roads Board (or both) opt into the collection plan, those costs will be itemized too.

When we asked if they planned on having installment payments for the taxpayers since most people cannot afford to get a large tax bill all at once.

They replied they were thinking the payments were going to be 2 or 3 possibly 4 billings to collect the taxes. This would make it more bearable to the taxpayer.

There were a lot of questions on the assessment process and how and when the properties were assessed. In Thunder Bay the Ministry of Finance people said the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) had told them they had completed the process and were processing their paper work. At all the sessions, Kenora, Dryden and Thunder Bay the Ministry was told by the attendees that there should be 1 tax rate for all residential properties similar to the manner the Ministry did for the commercial and industrial properties.

Our Association knows that not all the properties were visited and assessed “on site” as the MPAC office had told us they would do. This was hammered home by several members of the audience and the Ministry people were told to ensure the next meeting they do, they better have someone from MPAC there to answer questions.

The Ministry of Finance said there would be a reformed appeal process in which the property owner can call MPAC and discuss with them how their assessment was arrived at and can try to make a case as to why it should be modified. If this fails then there will be an official appeals process. They said they felt the majority of the assessment review cases could be solved locally and this would make the appeals process more efficient.

For more information you can contact the Ministry of Finance at www.fin.gov.on.ca or the Ministry of Revenue at www.rev.gov.on.ca

You can also call the Ministry of Revenue Call Centre at 1-866-668-8297

The Ministry people said they have been hearing the same concerns at the meetings in Kenora and Thunder Bay as were brought forward in Dryden. I guess that’s because the unincorporated areas have been working together for the past month planning for these sessions so we could put up a united approach with common concerns. We have also provided copies of our questions to the Northeastern Unincorporated contacts that we have and they told us at their sessions the same concerns were presented.

If you have any questions be sure to contact the Ministry of Finance or the Ministry of Revenue.