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Understanding your property tax bill

How your property taxes are calculated

Property taxes are calculated using the assessed value of the property determined by Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, (MPAC) multiplied by the municipal tax rates determined by City Council and the education rate determined by the Province.

Check out this short video about residential property taxes: How your property taxes are calculated

 

Tax classes and tax rates

Properties or portions of a property are classified according to the property's use. Each category represents a different tax class. In Ottawa there are 13 tax classes, residential making up 65% of the total tax revenue coming into the City. The other classes include Commercial, Office Building, Shopping Centre, Parking Lot, Industrial, Large Industrial, Multi-Residential, New Multi-Residential, Managed Forest, Farmland, Pipeline, Landfill and Professional Sports Facility. Municipal tax rates are set by local municipalities and may differ for each property class. Education tax rates are set by the Province. To request detailed tax rates, contact the Revenue Services by:

Email: revenue@ottawa.ca
Fax: 613-580-2457
Phone: 613-580-2444 (Transactions will be recorded for training and verification purposes.)
TTY: 613-580-2401

Also, for a rough estimate of what you could expect to see on your tax bill and/or supplementary/omitted tax bill, use the tax estimator on this site.

How to read your bill

The following codes on your tax bill describe the services provided to select areas:

CAL – Conservation Authority Levy
CCR – Canterburry Community Covered Rink
FSR – Volunteer Fire Services
FSU – Fire Services
HDO – Kanata North Project
MNP – Kanata North Mosquito Nuisance Program
POL – Ottawa Police ServiceS
WB – Solid Waste Bin Services
SWC – Solid Waste Curbside Services
T – Urban Transit
TRA – Rural Transit (extended bus service + Para Transpo)
TRB – Para Transpo (rural areas receiving Para Transpo service only)

Tax class description

C – Commercial
D – Office Building
F – Farmland
G – Parking Lot
H – LandfillI 
I - Industrial
J – Industrial (New construction)
K – Large Industrial (New construction)
L – Large Industrial
M – Multi-residential
N – New Multi-residential
P – Pipelines
Q – Sports Facility
R – Residential
S – Shopping Centre
T – Managed Forest
X – Commercial (New construction)
Y- Office Building (New construction)
Z- Shopping Centre (New construction)

Type of property

T – Taxable Full
U – Excess Land
X – Vacant Land
1 – Farmland Pending Development

Example: R T
(Tax Class) Residential
(Type) Taxable

What do my taxes pay for?

Property taxes pay for the City services you and your family enjoy every day. Every time you travel our network of roads and pathways, take a bus or enjoy the parks in your neighbourhood, your property tax dollars are at work. When you visit your local library or when you get your flu vaccination at a public health clinic, your taxes are working for you. From garbage and recycling collection to the frontline emergency services we all rely on to stay safe, your tax dollars go the distance.A portion of your taxes goes directly to local school boards and conservation authorities. Your final tax bill gives you a breakdown of how your tax dollars (net of grants and other sources of revenue) will be spent. The following is a breakdown of how the City spent its portion in 2017. It also shows the breakdown of the provincially mandated programs:

  • Provincially Mandated Programs – 11%
    • Housing – 5%
    • Employment and Financial Assistance – 2%
    • Public Health –1%
    • Municipal Property Assessment Corp –1%
    • Long Term Care –1%
    • Child Care – 1%
  • Ottawa Police Services –17%
  • Transit and Para Transpo –17%
  • Capital Financing – 13%
  • Planning/Roads/Traffic/Parking – 12%
  • Fire Services – 9%
  • Program Support – 7%
  • Parks / Recreation /Culture – 9%
  • Ottawa Public Library – 2%
  • Paramedic Services – 2%
  • Garbage /Recycling - 1%

Tax Distribution by service

Provincial education:

The provincial government sets the rates that fund the education system in Ontario.

Provincially mandated programs:

The Province requires the City to pay for social service programs such as: social assistance, child care services, social housing, public health and long-term care, and to pay for assessment services provided by MPAC.

Conservation authorities:

The City funds three watershed Conservation Authorities (Rideau Valley, Mississippi Valley and South Nation).

Transit and Para Transpo:

Funds public transit services based on your service delivery area.

Police:

The Ottawa Police Services Board provides residents with protection and law enforcement services.

Capital financing:

These are costs associated with the repayment of borrowed funds along with funding of capital projects.

Fire:

This rate is set according to your service delivery area for fire prevention, suppression and rescue operations.

Roads and traffic:

The City maintains its road network and traffic control systems.

Program support:

This includes functions such as: City Council, City Manager's Office, Financial Services, City Clerk and Solicitor, and Information Technology.

Parks, recreation and culture:

This includes recreational programs and maintenance of recreation facilities, parks and sports fields.

Waste diversion:

Funds recycling waste diversion and the City's landfill.

Library:

Supports reader and collection services, and virtual services through multi-service points.

Paramedics:

Funds the provision of pre-hospital emergency patient care.

Planning/economic development/environment:

Funds the provision of planning services that guide growth and regulate development and the delivery of environmental and economic development programs.

Other charges:

Includes special charges where applicable such as Canterbury Community Centre and Kanata North Project.

For a full description of the City's budget please refer to the City of Ottawa budget.

Stormwater

What is stormwater?

Stormwater includes rain and melted water runoff, and is collected in culverts, collection pipes, ditches and storm ponds. Stormwater services ensure stormwater is safely transported throughout the City to protect roads, properties and local waterways, to avoid flooding and erosion. All City residents benefit from stormwater management.

Is the stormwater charge new for connected properties?

No. Connected properties were already paying for stormwater services through the sewer surcharge on their water utility bill.

Why is there a stormwater fee for non-connected properties?

Previously, 100% of the stormwater fee was only charged on water bills, which meant that non-connected properties did not pay the fee. Since everyone benefits from stormwater services, this was unfair. Starting in 2017, non-connected properties are now contributing to stormwater services as well.

I don’t receive a water bill from the City. How will I be billed for stormwater?

The stormwater charge is added to the property tax bill of those properties that do not receive a water utility bill.

How is the stormwater charge calculated?

The stormwater rate varies, depending on the following:

  • Property type - Residential or Non-Residential (Industrial, Commercial, Institutional)
  • Service area – Urban or Rural
  • Service type - Connected or Non-Connected

To achieve an equitable distribution, the stormwater rates are based on the total estimated hard surface area between residential properties and industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) properties (67% residential and 33% ICI).

Residential & Multi-Residential (6+ units) - Residential and multi-residential properties are discounted from the base rate as follows:

  • Townhouse/apartment receive a 50% discount
  • Urban non-connected properties receive a 30% discount
  • Rural non-connected properties receive a 50% discount

For residential properties with more than one unit, the stormwater fee is charged per dwelling unit.

Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) - ICI properties have a combination of the following characteristics:

  • Assessment Range (based on current year assessment value)
  • Service Area (Urban or Rural)
  • Service Type (Connected or Non-Connected)

The stormwater charge for ICI properties is calculated based on current year assessed property value as returned by MPAC annually. Unlike residential properties, the impervious areas of ICI properties are extremely diverse, making it virtually impossible to establish fair averages. Assessment value is considered to be a reasonable proxy for property size.

The stormwater rates for ICI is a flat fee based on assessment ranges.

Rural ICI properties not connected to City wastewater services receive a 30% discount on their stormwater charge.

How is the stormwater fee charged?

Non-connected: Properties that do not receive a water utility bill and are not connected to wastewater services have the stormwater fee included on their property tax bill. The fee for non-connected properties is being phased in over four years to allow time to adjust:

2017 - 25% 2018 – 50% 2019 – 75% 2020 – 100%

Connected: Properties that receive a water bill will see the stormwater fee on their water utility bills as of April 2019.

Can I appeal the stormwater fee charged by the City?

Assessment code and value are used as a “proxy” for impervious land; this is captured once a year and is used to determine the property’s stormwater charge. Stormwater fees charged by the City cannot be appealed, however will be adjusted going forward if assessment and/or property types are corrected by MPAC.

I believe I have an incorrect property type. Can I appeal?

You may apply directly to MPAC for a correction.

Tax FAQ

Where can I find the 23-digit account number for my financial institution's online banking?

The roll number shown on your tax bill is the account number that you will need to use. For our purposes, the only account reference needed can be found in the first 15 digits (starting with 0614). Different banks require different numbers of digits (ranging from 18 to 23). Generally, to match the number of digits required by your bank, you should enter extra zeroes at the end of your roll number until you meet the bank's requirements. If this does not work, contact your bank's helpdesk. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at revenue@ottawa.ca

Does the City of Ottawa have a list of properties being sold because of unpaid taxes?

The City does sell properties from time to time because of unpaid taxes. If there is a sale taking place, the list of properties will be advertised in the Ottawa Citizen and Le Droit. You can also check the Property Tax Sale Process section of this site.

Will my payment on the interim tax bill be credited towards my final taxes?

Yes. The interim billing is to be treated as a “payment on account” and will be deducted from the final billing.

What does the number to the right of my name on the tax bill mean?

It is a sequence number used for the printing and mailing function. It has no relevance to the taxpayer or the tax office.

Why hasn’t my favourable Assessment Review Board decision been reflected on my final tax bill?

The tax bill must be paid as issued. The Education Act allows the municipality 120 days from the date in which the Assessment Review Board decision is released to process an adjustment on an account before interest is paid. If an adjustment is not reflected on your final tax bill but is within the 120 days no interest will be paid. Once the adjustment has been calculated the amount will be applied to your tax account and a letter will be sent identifying the amount. The person entitled to receive the refund will have the option of leaving a credit on their account or having a refund issued.

Why are tax payments due mid-month, and what if I make a late payment?

Property tax due dates are approved every year by City Council. Since more than 240,000 tax accounts must be billed and their corresponding payments recorded in a short time period, the third Thursdays of March and June were chosen to ensure payments could be properly recorded and in the bank by month’s end. Payments after the due date are subject to a penalty of 1.25 per cent.

My mortgage company pays my taxes. Why did I receive a bill?

We have no record of your mortgage company on your account. Contact your bank for instructions. You should request that your bank contact us to ensure we record their interest on your account. This will ensure all future bills will be sent to them. To avoid a penalty on your account you should contact your bank immediately.

Why am I still getting a bill if I’m on a pre-authorized tax payment plan?

It depends on the type of pre-authorized payment plan you belong to. For example:

  • If your pre-authorized payment plan calls for two payments per year on the instalment due dates, the bill is sent to inform you how much will be deducted from your account on the due date. The stub portion of your bill should indicate that you are on pre-authorized payment plan. If it does not, please contact Revenue Services at 613-580-2444 (Calls may be recorded) (TTY 613-580-2401) to ensure we have your proper information on your account.
  • if your pre-authorized payments are withdrawn monthly and you received a bill, please call Revenue Services at 613-580-2444 (Calls may be recorded) (TTY 613-580-2401) to ensure we have the proper information on your account.

How much of the year does the interim tax cover?

The interim tax bill is a payment on account towards your annual taxes. It does not cover a specific period of time. This interim payment will be deducted from your final bill, which covers the calendar year when it is issued later.

 

Disclosure of personal information

In order to protect the personal privacy of account holders, the Revenue Division does not provide verbal information about property tax and water accounts to third parties such as real estate agents, lawyers. The City will continue to release information on tax and water accounts to property owners, mortgage companies identified on the City's tax application and tenants, where authorized by legislation.

Assessment information may be obtained from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation or by viewing the assessment roll at City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West. Estimates for the Residential, Farm and Managed Forest classes can be obtained through the City's Property Tax Estimator.

For more information, please contact City's Revenue Services at 613-580-2444 (TTY 613-580-2401), or e-mail revenue@ottawa.ca.

Last revised: March 15, 2011

Descriptive video: How your Property Tax is Calculated

Okay, I want to explain to you how your property taxes are calculated based on how much your home is worth. Imagine there is a town that only has three homes. And they're each worth a different amount. The total cost to provide all of their town's services is $1000. This is collected through property taxes. Each home owner pays property taxes based on how much their home is worth. So, the value of all the homes are added up and divided by the town's cost. Which gives us the tax rate. This tax rate is applied to all the houses to get enough money to pay for all of the services. So, each home owner pays according to how much their house is worth. Every four years, the houses are reassessed. Let's say all three properties have gone up equally, in value. If we go back to our calculation, the total cost of services hasn't changed, but the total property value has increased. When this happens there will be a decrease in the tax rate. Now, when we apply that new rate on all the homes, everyone still pays the same. Let's recap. One. Property taxes are based on what a home is worth. If reassessments all increase equally, then everyone pays the same taxes as before. Now, let's say another four years has gone by and these homes are reassessed. During this time, the house on the right became more valuable in the market than the other two. Okay, so, time for a little more math. The total value of all the homes have increased, which means the town has to calculate a new tax rate. With this new tax rate, the first two homes will actually pay less than the home on the right that was reassessed at a higher value. Since the cost of services hasn't changed, the town doesn't need to collect more property taxes. However, since property taxes are based on a home's value, those taxes could potentially go up or down, based on the rest of the homes. So, what happens when the cost to provide services goes up? Well, it means more property taxes need to be collected from every home and a new tax rate is calculated. To get the new rate, we take that amount that the town now needs and divide it by all of the property values. The new rate is applied to all the homes and now everyone has to pay the new tax amount to continue to fund all of the services. So, let's review. One. Property taxes are based on the value of a home. When homes are reassessed equally, each home owner will pay the same amount, proportionately, as before. Two. When homes are reassessed at different values, each homeowner will pay a different amount proportionately, based on how much their home increased in value. Three. When the town's cost to provide services increases – a property tax increase – then, everyone pays their share, proportionately, across the board. And that explains the relationship between property value and property taxes.