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7 per cent of Ottawa homeowners have not submitted vacant unit tax declaration

A tablet showing the vacant unit tax declaration page on the city of Ottawa's website. (Leah Larocque/CTV News Ottawa) A tablet showing the vacant unit tax declaration page on the city of Ottawa's website. (Leah Larocque/CTV News Ottawa)
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About 300,000 Ottawa residents have submitted the information required by the city's vacant unit tax as the deadline approaches.

That represents about 93 per cent of the properties required to submit declarations under the new tax, which will see vacant properties assessed an extra one per cent tax this year.

City council voted last March to impose the tax, a move designed to address homes sitting empty and neglected.

Property owners are required to submit annual declarations indicating their home's occupancy status, even if it's their principal residence. Any property that's vacant for more than 184 days in a year will be taxed an extra one per cent.

The city has sent letters and emails with information on how to submit the information. But they are doing more outreach next week to capture the seven per cent of homeowners who haven't filled out their declarations yet.

Four clinics are scheduled net week for people who don't have a computer or electronic device, or just aren't sure how to fill it out. City staff will offer one-on-one service to help people file their declarations at the clinics.

"No reservations are required, and you just need to bring your roll number and access code found on one of the VUT information letters or your last property tax bill," the city said in a news release Thursday.

The deadline for declarations is Thursday, March 16. Homes that don't have declarations filed will be deemed vacant and assessed the tax. There is also a $250 late fee, but the city is waiving that this year.

The late declaration due date is April 30. After that, if the declaration hasn't been submitted, the one per cent tax will be applied for 2023.

Many city councillors had an earful from constituents when the tax was passed, with people calling it a negative-option rule. There was also some uncertainty about its rollout date.

However, City staff estimate the tax could raise $25 million over five years. The funds will go toward funding affordable housing initiatives.

Here are the locations, dates and times of the clinics next week:

  • Monday, March 13: Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Dr., main lobby, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 14: Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave. W., Jean Pigott Place, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 15: Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Wellington St. W., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 16: St. Laurent Recreation Complex, 525 Coté St., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You can submit the vacant tax declaration and learn more about it here.

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