Everything you need to know about the new Ottawa Vacant Tax

Have questions about the new Ottawa Vacant Unit Tax (VUT) you keep hearing about? Not sure what you have to do even if you don’t have a vacant property? 

The City of Ottawa implemented the Vacant Unit Tax in 2023 as a way to promote more housing for the people of Ottawa. The City announced all proceeds from VUT will be reinvested into affordable housing initiatives, like the construction of 500 new affordable and supportive units annually in the City’s 10-year housing and homeless plan.

So what does the Ottawa Vacant Unit Tax mean for you?

If you own property, you have a new annual task.

If you don’t own property, the City’s goal is for more affordable housing options to be made available to you.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Ottawa Vacant Unit Tax.

Who needs to be concerned with the Vacant Unit Tax in Ottawa?

If you own residential property in Ottawa or the surrounding area, you’ll need to take action regardless of whether or not your property is vacant or lived in.
While the Vacant Unit Tax doesn’t apply to the following, you will still have to declare your status:

  • Primary residence (used as a principal residence for at least six months of the year)
  • Tenanted residence (occupied by tenants for at least six months in increments of 30 or more days) 
  • Properties occupied by family or friend or other resident using it as their principal (for at least six months of the year)
  • Properties qualifying for one of the exemptions
    • If owner dies
    • If home was redeveloped or had major renovations
    • If tenants of home are now in a hospital long term care
    • If home was sold and there was a long closing
    • If there is court proceedings or order of a gov’t authority that prohibits occupancy

What do you have to do, as a property owner in Ottawa?

All property owners must complete a Declaration online, which can be completed in five minutes. 

As a homeowner, you should have received an email with a link to declare as well as your property information. If not, (always check your spam first!) you should be able to log into your MyServiceOttawa

You must complete your Declaration by March 16th, 2023. The late declaration deadline is April 30th, 2023. 

Any failure to declare your property will result in a $250 fee, however the City has announced they will be waiving this fee for the first year (2023) as homeowners get accustomed to the new program. 
Once you’ve registered your declaration, no other work is required. The City of Ottawa may complete audits of properties based on varied criteria. If your property is audited, some documents you may need are below:

  • Government ID saying the home is your primary residence
  • Tenancy agreement if it’s not your primary residence
  • Agreement of purchase and sale
  • Proof of income for short-term rental
  • Any other information the City requests

How is ‘Vacant unit’ defined?

According to the City of Ottawa, a vacant unit is defined as a non-commercial home that is unoccupied for 184 days in the previous calendar year. This tax applies only to residential properties.

What happens if you have a vacant unit?

If a home is indeed vacant for more than half the year (184 days), the tax is 1% of the assessed value of the home as per MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corp). The tax for the 2022 year will be due on June 15th, 2023, and will be added to your final property tax bill.

Not sure of your MPAC assessed value? 
Reach out to team@seyergroup.ca and we can provide you with that information for your specific property.

Important dates regarding the Ottawa Vacant Unit Tax

Declaration deadline (anyone who owns property): March 16th, 2023

Late declaration deadline: April 30th, 2023

Tax collection (for Vacant Units only): June 15th, 2023 

Curious to read more about the Ottawa Vacant Unit Tax? You can explore the City of Ottawa resources here.

Written by: Josh Reyes

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