As announced in the 2020 Ontario Budget, the Province is providing municipalities with the flexibility to target property tax relief to eligible small businesses through the adoption of a new optional small business property tax for Commercial and/or Industrial subclasses. Municipalities are responsible for establishing detailed eligibility criteria for the optional small business subclass and priorities that may influence the definition of such.
The City of Sault Ste. Marie has scheduled two webinar information sessions to consult with local business stakeholders and other interested parties prior to finalizing its recommendation to City Council. The information sessions are scheduled for:
- October 1 at noon and,
- October 6 at 10 a.m.
Those interested in participating are asked to register in one of the sessions by emailing Samantha Travaglini at [email protected]. The discussions will help to understand the community’s perspective regarding the small business tax subclass.
“The provincial government is requiring municipalities to define small business eligibility in a way that best meets the local needs and priorities,” said Shelley Schell, Chief Financial Officer and City Treasurer. “We are looking to engage with local businesses and residents to gather their feedback on this topic. There are a number of details to consider and, should a small business tax subclass eventually be implemented, there could be implications for the other taxpayers.”
The Province will consider matching municipal property tax reductions with education property tax reductions on a case by case basis to provide further support for small businesses. Tax reductions can be funded in three ways:
- Reductions in levy through service reductions or substantial efficiency savings
- Across all property tax classes – transfer of tax burden
- Within the Commercial and/or Industrial class – remainder of the class pays for small business tax reduction.
The adoption of the subclass, including how the tax reduction is funded, is a municipal decision. As with other tax rate decisions, municipalities are responsible for understanding the potential tax impact on affected taxpayers. Interested individuals and groups are encouraged to participate in the discussion.