This morning, Council received a memo from city staff outlining potential changes to Interim Property Tax payments as well as other financial programs. These proposed changes are part of the city’s response to COVID-19. Please review the memo below and check Ottawa.ca frequently for updates.
Memo from City Staff:
The purpose of this memo is to inform Mayor and Council of several measures Revenue Services is implementing to assist residents and small businesses as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. Interim Property Tax Grace Period for All Property Owners
The interim tax bills, which represent 50 per cent of the previous year’s tax bill, were mailed to property owners in mid-February with payment to the City of Ottawa due Thursday, March 19, 2020.
The City will be extending a payment grace period to April 15, 2020, pending approval at the March 25, 2020 Council meeting or at the earliest available opportunity. It is important to note that property owners who are enrolled in pre-authorized debit plans are not affected by the grace period and do not need to take any action.
More information on property tax bills can be found on the Taxes homepage on ottawa.ca.
New 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program
In recognition of the evolving uncertainty for residents and small businesses related to COVID-19, Mayor Watson will bring forth a motion to City Council seeking approval of a new 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program for City of Ottawa residential property owners and small business property owners (assessed property value of up to $2.5 M) that have been financially affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a targeted support program, and the identified commercial property value threshold of up to $2.5 M will help the City assist the majority of small business owners without providing financial assistance to those who do not require it. Revenue Services has chosen not to impose a cap on the assessed value for residential property owners, since many circumstances resulting from this pandemic could lead to residents’ difficulty in remitting municipal taxes on time. To qualify, an account would need to have been paid up to date before the interim tax installment.
The full details of the Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program will be provided to Council for approval on March 25, 2020 or at the earliest available opportunity. If approved, the deferral application will be available online and would extend the interim (March 19) and final (June 18) tax due dates to October 30, 2020. The motion will define the criteria of property owner eligibility.
Tax & Water Bill Deferral Program for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities
The City of Ottawa already offers two deferral programs for property taxes for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. Under these existing programs, eligible homeowners may apply for a full or partial deferral of their annual property taxes.
The City also offers a deferral program for water utility bills for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. Eligible homeowners may apply for a deferral of their water utility bills.
Applying for both programs can be done online via email. Information on eligibility and how to apply can be found on ottawa.ca.
The City of Ottawa has suspended all water service disconnections due to non-payment until further notice.
Farm Grant Program
The Farm Grant Program provides financial relief to working farmers. The grant program will assist eligible farm property owners by allowing the June final tax installment to be paid in December 8, 2020, as already prescribed. More information on the program and eligibility can be found on ottawa.ca.
Alternate Payment Options
The City is taking steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and wants to remind residents that the City offers several ways to pay water bills and property taxes, including:
• My Service Ottawa portal
• Telephone and online banking through your financial institution
• Credit or debit card online at ottawa.ca
• Pre-authorized debit
• By mail
Full details on how to use these methods can be found on ottawa.ca.