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What You Need to Know About the Toronto Vacant Home Tax

Toronto, like many cities across the country, is facing serious housing shortages for its residents. As the population continues to grow, it’s putting unprecedented pressure on the housing and rental markets.  To help ease the strain, now and in the future, federal and provincial governments are taking different steps to increase the number of available and affordable homes. In 2022, a Vacant Home Tax in Toronto was implemented to reduce the number of residences sitting empty in the Greater Toronto Area.

What Is a Vacant Home Tax?

The Vacant Home Tax is a tax that is applied to homes that are not lived in for at least six months or longer each year. The tax was implemented as a way to help ease the housing crisis by discouraging homeowners and landlords from leaving their housing empty for half a year or longer. All the money collected from the vacancy tax in Toronto goes towards different housing initiatives throughout the city.

Definition of a Vacant Home

A vacant home is a residence that is not being used as a primary residence for at least six months or longer during a fiscal year. The primary resident doesn’t have to be the property’s owner. Tenants or someone approved by the property owner can also live in the house but it must be their primary residence.

How Much Tax is Charged to Homeowners

Owners will be charged 1% of the home’s current value assessment (CVA) for primary homes that are left unlived in for at least six months or longer in the previous tax year, The assessment is based on the previous fiscal year’s assessed current value.

Deadline to Report Vacancy Status

Toronto’s vacant home tax deadline to report the occupancy status of a residence is February 29, 2024. All declarations must be submitted to the city either online using their digital declaration form or by mail.

When declaring your home vacancy status, you will need to include your 21-digit assessment rollout number and your customer number found on the property tax bill or property tax account statement.

Exemptions to the Vacant Home Tax

Most houses that sit empty for six months or longer in the previous tax year will be taxed under the Vacant Home Tax in Toronto. However, there are exemptions, or situations where the vacancy tax is waived. These exemptions include:

Homeowners are also exempt from the vacancy tax in Toronto if they are away from their primary residence for less than six months. This covers anyone who takes vacations including snowbirds who are away for less than six months in the winter, primary residents who work outside the city for part of the year, students or families who spend time away from their primary residence for part of the year, and owners of a secondary residence, like a cottage, who spend part of their time at their secondary residence throughout the year.

Paying the Vacant Home Tax

Payments of the vacancy tax are made in three equal installments. The Toronto vacant home tax deadlines for making the payments are May 15, June 17, and July 15, 2024.   

Disputing a Notice of Assessment

If a homeowner wishes to dispute their Notice of Assessment, they can do so by submitting a Notice of Complaint on the city’s online portal.

The Vacant Home Tax is implemented in different cities across the country as a way to reduce the housing strain and collect revenues that can go towards different housing projects.


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