City Vacant Unit Tax Treats Seniors Poorly: LANGSTONE

Long-time Bulldog commenter and reader John Langstone condemns the city’s Vacant Unit Tax:

So if I read this right, there is a Federal Negative Option Billing Regulation applying to financial institutions, but because it doesn’t apply to municipalities, it is okay.

https://ottawa.ca/en/living-ottawa/taxes/property-taxes/vacant-unit-tax/understanding-vacant-unit-tax#section-caa810df-72e8-4790-ad59-4791bdf57ebf

Is the VUT a form of negative option billing?

The VUT is a tax, not a form of negative option billing.?? 

The Federal Negative Option Billing Regulation applies to financial institutions, not municipalities. The regulations made under the Federal Bank Act and other federal acts apply to financial institutions, not municipalities.?? 

Negative option billing applies to “consumer transactions,” not taxes prescribed under the municipal Act. The municipal act sets out the rules and authorizes a municipalities’ powers for taxation.? 


Finally, Part IX.1 of the municipal act (Optional Tax on Vacant Residential Units), provides powers to a Municipality to impose a vacant unit tax subject to being designated as a Municipality that can impose the tax. O. Reg. 458/22(link is external) designates Ottawa as a Municipality that can impose the vacant unit tax.?

I wonder if this will effectively force some seniors out their houses if they don’t file on time, or perhaps don’t have help when things go wrong after neglecting to file.  Don’t file by March 21, you are fined $250 for failing to file, and if I were to forget to file by April 30, I would see a roughly $5,000 penalty on my final tax bill if I understand correctly. This would come close to doubling my annual taxes. My house would be not be vacant, but I would have these penalties levied for failing to properly follow the declaration process on time.

And a majority of council thinks this is fine. 

I am really proud of the way my municipality treats it’s small property owners. 

John

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2 Responses

  1. Bruce says:

    John In My opinion all levels of government have their way when it comes to taxes. Reason being that the elderly, poor, and most others do not have the means or time to fight “big brother”. We are all trying to get by while those in power are “doing just fine” thank you. I did not vacation over Christmas in Jamaica? on a friends island at taxpayers expense nor did anyone I know but some high ranking government folks would sooner spend “their “money outside of Canada.

  2. Peter Karwacki says:

    The late fees, and fines are not an issue but you have to file the paperwork. Seniors are at risk.
    Governments are scrambling for cash and grey hairs are low hanging fruit.

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