The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) issued a news release Tuesday stating that it would appear before the city’s budget committee to press for fairness in taxation. For TREB, fairness in taxation means raising funds for City-building projects through property taxes, which share the burden equally across home owners, as opposed to the way municipal land transfer taxes (MLTT) single out new home owners.
“Like everyone, REALTORS® want to see City costs on home owners minimized. We believe this budget does that with a fair proposed inflationary property tax increase,” said Mark McLean, president of TREB. “REALTORS® also understand the benefits of City building, and believe that revenue, for this, should be collected in the fairest way possible. Mayor [John] Tory’s proposed dedicated property tax levy is a fair way to raise revenue for City building projects.”
While the board commended Mayor Tory’s leadership in ensuring equity for taxpayers and expressed respect for his election mandate, it noted that adding the proposed administrative MLTT fee to existing municipal land transfer taxes would sent the wrong message.
TREB maintains its position that the MLTT should be scrapped altogether, but for now, it’s focusing on realistic inflationary adjustments to relief measures. Such measures include the maximum allowed rebate for first-time buyers and the threshold at which the city applies its highest tax rate.
Both provisions were set to match what at the time was the average price of a home: $400,000. Since then, the average price of a home has shot up 40 per cent, to $659,000, but neither relief measure has been adjusted. Today, anyone who buys an average-priced home can expect to pay close to $9,000 in municipal land transfer taxes, the board indicated.
“TREB’s concerns about the MLTT have been validated by recent events, including the provincial government’s announcement that it would not grant LTT authority to other municipalities, and the city manager’s repeated warnings about over-reliance on this unpredictable revenue stream,” said Von Palmer, chief communications and government affairs officer, TREB.