Consultations: PLT Questionnaire Results

Introduction

As part of the second stage of the Provincial Land Tax (PLT) review, the Ministry of Finance sought input from unincorporated area property owners through a PLT Consultation Questionnaire. The questionnaire was posted in March 2016 and closed on June 1, 2016. The PLT Consultation Questionnaire followed a series of public consultations and provided property owners in unincorporated areas with an additional opportunity to comment on the current PLT changes and future years. The questionnaire is based on the key issues raised at PLT open houses held across northern Ontario in 2015 and summarized in the paper “Overview of Provincial Land Tax Open Houses” (February 2016). This summary of results provides information about who responded to the questionnaire and their views about aspects of the PLT review.

About the Questionnaire

Property owners in unincorporated areas were invited to participate in the questionnaire through an insert in their 2016 interim PLT tax bills and the PLT website. However, only 271 responses were received, representing less than half of one per cent of all property owners in unincorporated areas. Despite the low response rate, respondents of the questionnaire are generally consistent with the socio-economic and demographic profile of residents in unincorporated areas.

However, there appear to be some differences between questionnaire respondents and the general population of residents in unincorporated areas. For example, a greater proportion of questionnaire respondents (66%) owned properties valued at $100,000 or higher, compared to actual unincorporated area property owners (44%). Similarly, a higher per cent of survey respondents reported living outside a school board area (38%) compared to the actual proportion of unincorporated area property owners that live outside school boards (30%). In addition, Thunder Bay and Sudbury districts had a higher per cent of respondents (23% and 18%) compared to the actual proportion of people living in these districts (15% and 11%), while Cochrane district had a lower representation of respondents (4% of respondents versus 9%).

About the Respondents

Properties and Local Boards

Properties and Local Boards

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Respondents’ Properties by District

inside and outside school boards

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WHAT WE HEARD

PLT Rates and Schoolboard Areas

Key Fact:

The residential PLT rate outside schoolboard areas was only one-sixth the rate of inside schoolboard areas in 2013. However, properties in both areas receive the same services that the PLT contributes toward.

Respondents’ views

Graduation cap icon

The PLT rate difference between inside and outside schoolboard areas should be addressed

Bar chart illustrates that 57 percent of survey respondents agreed and 43 percent disagreed that the PLT rate difference between inside and outside school board areas should be addressed.

77%

INSIDE schoolboard areas property owners think the rate difference should be addressed

36%

OUTSIDE schoolboard areas property owners think the rate difference should be addressed

Businesses

Key Fact:

Businesses, including pipelines
and railways, contribute significantly less
in PLT than they would in a northern
municipality.

Respondents’ views

Building

PLT increases for businesses should be same or greater than increases for residential properties

Bar chart illustrates that 91 percent of survey respondents agreed and 9 percent disagreed that PLT increases for businesses should be same or greater than increases for residential properties.
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Views about the PLT

Respondents had an opportunity to provide general comments and thoughts about the PLT:

A range of opinions about the 2015 and 2016 PLT changes was provided by the respondents.

Some recognized the need for PLT reform and found PLT to be relatively fair and reasonable – “So far the changes have been acceptable” and “I have no concerns about the changes to date and feel adequately informed.” While others may not have welcomed tax increases, they have accepted the PLT reform, “we realize that changes are coming and will have to accept them.”

However, many others reacted less positively to the rate changes due to various reasons. A commonly expressed view about the PLT was that “increases are too high.” Other respondents asked to keep “the old (low tax rate) system in place and the way it was.”

Respondents provided a variety of comments about aspects of the PLT review. Some comments were about the assessed value of a property, some were specific to seasonal taxation of properties, while others commented on business. For example, several noted that “pipelines and railways have been given a free ride historically” and “should pay a higher tax rate.”

Other respondents focused more on the next stage of PLT reform. Some wanted greater certainty about future PLT changes and the next stage. While others noted that they were “concerned about potential future taxes”, and wanted to know “what the end point future objective is for the PLT.”

Remoteness

Key Fact:

More than 70 per cent of unincorporated area properties are located within 20 kilometres of a municipal boundary.

Respondents’ views about their property:

Respondents’ views about their property

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Respondents’ views about their property

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house and trees

The PLT review should take into consideration the circumstances of very remote properties

77 percent of survey respondents agreed that the PLT review should take into consideration the circumstances of very remote properties. By contrast, 23 percent of respondents disagreed with this statement.

Tax Relief Programs

Key Fact:

There are measures to assist those property owners with low income, particularly seniors, including:

  • Ontario Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant
  • Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit
  • PLT Tax Deferral Program

Respondents’ views:

21%

Applied to one or more of the property tax support programs in the last 5 years

hand holding house and trees

Additional supports are needed for low-income property owners in unincorporated areas

52 percent of survey respondents agreed that additional supports are needed for low-income property owners in unincorporated areas. While, 48 percent of survey respondents disagreed with this statement.

NOTES ABOUT THE QUESTIONNAIRE:

1. The statistics were calculated from the responses to the PLT questionnaire and represent only those property owners who filled out the questionnaire.

2. Percentages shown represent only those respondents who had an opinion.

For more information on the PLT review and more detailed information about the issues in the questionnaire, please visit the PLT Web page on the Ministry of Finance’s website: http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/consultations/landtaxreform/

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Image 1:

Diagram illustrates that 271 people responded to the questionnaire and provides the following breakdown of respondents by age group:

  • 62 percent of people were under 65 years old
  • 38 percent of people were 65 and over

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Image 2:

Diagram provides the following breakdown of the survey respondents by property type:

  • 37 percent of people had a permanent residence
  • 63 percent of people had a seasonal property.

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Image 3:

Diagram provides the following breakdown of the survey respondents by property value:

  • 34 percent had a property valued at under 100,000 dollars
  • 38 percent had a property valued at between 100,000 and 200,000 dollars
  • 28 percent had a property valued at over 200,000

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Image 4:

Bar chart illustrates the location of properties owned by survey respondents, relative to local boards:

  • 68 percent of properties were inside a Local Road Board and 32 percent were outside
  • 48 percent were inside a Local Services Board and 52 were outside
  • 56 percent were inside a School Board and 44 percent were outside

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Image 5:

Map provides the breakdown of the survey respondents’ properties by district.

  • 19 percent of respondents have properties in Kenora
  • 23 percent in Thunder Bay
  • 4 percent in Rainy River
  • 4 percent in Cochrane
  • 15 percent in Algoma
  • 7 percent in Timiskaming
  • 18 percent in Manitoulin-Sudbury
  • 3 percent in Nipissing
  • 7 percent in Parry Sound

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Image 6:

Diagram illustrates that 20 percent of survey respondents, identified as permanent residents, consider their property to be remote. While 43 percent of survey respondents, identified as seasonal residents, consider their property to be remote.

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Image 7:

Diagram illustrates that 17 percent of survey respondents, identified as permanent residents, consider their property to be more difficult to access than other properties. While 55 percent of survey respondents, identified as seasonal residents, consider their property to be more difficult to access than other properties.

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