Here's how the city's property tax deferral program for downtown businesses will work
City council will be voting next week on a plan to defer property tax payments for business owners who were affected by the "Freedom Convoy" occupation of downtown Ottawa.
The tax deferral is part of a slate of measures introduced by council to aid local businesses and residents who endured three weeks of blocked streets, honking, diesel fumes, and disruption. If approved, it would allow business owners within a specified area to defer their interim tax bill due on March 17, 2022, and final bill taxes due on June 16, 2022, to Sept. 15, 2022.
"This deferral will be retroactive to March 17, 2022, which is the 2022 interim tax bill due date," Chief Financial Officer Wendy Stephanson said.
City staff say in order to qualify for the deferral, a property owner must:
- Own a retail or commercial property within the identified geographical area.
- Have been affected financially due to the 2022 convoy occupation and provide proof of hardship
- Make an application for the deferral before April 22, 2022
- Have all property taxes for 2021 and prior years paid up to date by the interim tax date of March 17, 2022
- Commit to passing on the tax deferral to the tenants
Residential properties, large commercial office buildings over 7,500 square feet, and properties that make payments in lieu of taxes do not qualify for this program. Full details of the program will be provided to Council ahead of time for approval at the March 23 City Council meeting.
According to a map provided by the city, the area in which property taxes may be deferred includes Centretown, the ByWard Market and parts of Sandy Hill, bordered by Bay Street in the west, Wellington Street and Cathcart Street in the north, King Edward Avenue in the east and Catherine Street in the south.
City staff say, if approved, the deferral application will be available at ottawa.ca/taxes on March 24, and eligible property owners can apply online before the application deadline of April 22, 2022.