Maybe you’ve heard the commercial on the radio or elsewhere paid for by Ontario realtors. I believe it says, “Don’t tax our dreams.” I’m not sure whose dreams to which it’s supposed to be referring, the realtors or the home-buyers, but you may have wondered what this is about a new land transfer tax.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about the Province looking for ways to raise money to solve the municipal infrastructure problem without taking any of the heat – just municipal agencies doing the taxing.
We already have the Catholic School Board clawing at us for an additional development charge which will be paid by everybody, regardless of which board the eventual homebuyer will be supporting. And now, there’s all this talk about an additional land transfer tax (LTT).
The whole thing started with Toronto and grew as part the aura surrounding the Association of Municipalities (AMO) Conference back in August. Toronto, you see, was given permission to levy their own LTT on top of the Provincially mandated one to try to raise money. This was followed by a demand from a spokesperson for AMO to give all the other municipalities the same options.
According to an October 27 article of the Toronto Star, when Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin was asked about the possibility he replied, “I am not ruling anything out, absolutely not.” Since the hit on a $450,000 property in Toronto for this LTT is $10,200 the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) got worried. Hence the adds.
It must be pointed out that there are currently no plans to allow this LTT for other municipalities. Even if there were, it would still be up to the individual municipalities whether they wished to impose it. That said, you don’t often see municipalities pass up a to make money and if they don’t, the Province would just tell them if they complain about infrastructure costs that they gave them the tools to do something about it.
Nobody wants to pay extra taxes but would the LTT actually hurt a homebuyer’s dreams? OREA seems to think so but, considering how house prices have continued to soar without slowing down the market, I rather tend to doubt it. Those more likely hurt by the new tax would be the real estate flippers, who turn over their properties quickly and want every cent of profit they can make on others’ “dreams”. And that will hurt the realtors no doubt.
Ontario has a long way to go before we can get rid of this government but I suspect we’ll be happy to see the end of them. Between selling off Hydro, whose new owners will want profits, which will have to come from – well, us – and all kinds of new taxation opportunities for municipalities, plus whatever comes next, they’ll have to go.
Or soon we’ll just be signing our entire paycheques over to our governments or their loony schemes.