Great News! Ontario Says Cities Outside Toronto Cannot Charge Land-Transfer Tax

Tuesday Mar 07th, 2017


Ontario Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin: "It is clear that there has been no call for a municipal land transfer tax."

By: Rob Ferguson Queen's Park Bureau, Published on Tue Dec 01 2015

Cities and towns outside Toronto will not be allowed to charge local land transfer taxes on property sales that would add thousands of dollars to the cost of a home, Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin said Wednesday.

The decision followed a campaign by the Progressive Conservatives and the real estate industry against letting municipalities charge the tax in addition to the provincial form of it. The campaigners argued a municipal tax would push house prices further out of reach for many families.

“It is clear that there has been no call for a municipal land transfer tax,” McMeekin said to cheers from Conservative MPPs in the legislature’s daily question period.

“Other than in Toronto, where the power already exists, our government will not be extending municipal land transfer tax powers to other Ontario municipalities.”

The announcement came in response to a friendly question from a backbench Liberal MPP after McMeekin, as recently as five weeks ago, refused to rule out extending the land transfer taxing power to more municipalities.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) had argued that Ontario’s municipalities should have the same options that Toronto has had since 2006.

“Questions arise as to why Toronto has certain revenue tools the rest of us don’t have,” McMeekin told reporters in late October, noting at the time that any land transfer powers would be on an “optional basis.”

The purchaser of a Toronto home selling for $450,000 will pay a total of $10,200 in land transfer tax: $5,475 to the province and $4,725 to the city.

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) pushed the government to be cautious about granting the new taxing power to other cities and Conservative MPP Steve Clark had warned of job losses and lost economic activity.

“Ontario home-buyers are already charged a provincial land transfer tax, so by adding a municipal tax, they’re essentially doubling the tax burden on Ontario families,” Patricia Verge, president of OREA, said in a statement earlier this fall.

“If the Ontario Liberals follow through with this plan, home-buyers will be forced to pay $10,000 in total land transfer taxes on the average priced home in Ontario, starting as early as next year.”

McMeekin said Wednesday that Ontario’s 444 municipalities are getting financial support from the province of $3.7 billion this year, which includes the cost of some programs the province has taken over from them.


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