The City of Toronto’s Land Transfer Tax is no longer a “new” tax, but few have forgotten about its presence as it lurks over homebuyers’ heads.
Bill Johnston is the president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, and he recently put his thoughts and insights on the tax down on paper…
These are interesting times at Toronto City Hall. Last fall’s election brought a new mayor and numerous new councillors, and they are promising to take the City in a new direction. In this regard, one of Mayor Ford’s most significant promises to repeal the Toronto Land Transfer Tax (LTT), an unfair tax that Realtors have fought against since it was first proposed. We continue to oppose this tax and we look forward to working with Mayor Ford to eliminate it.
Realtors were again hard at work on this issue recently, making our views known as part of the City’s 2011 Budget process. In a deputation to the City of Toronto’s Budget Committee, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) told city councillors that Realtors are encouraged with the direction of the City’s proposed 2011 Budget and believe that it is a significant step toward fulfilling Mayor Ford’s strong commitment to repeal the Toronto LTT.
By demonstrating restraint and prudent fiscal management, the City’s proposed budget sets the stage for City Council to deliver on Mayor For’s clear commitment to repeal the Toronto LTT by next year.
For years, GTA Realtors have been telling the City that the fair way for it to address its financial challenges is to get its finances in order, instead of burdening homeowners and homebuyers with additional taxes, like the LTT.
Realtors fought strongly against the idea of a Toronto LTT when it was first proposed in 2007. We heard the public’s concerns and we stood up for homebuyers, who we believe were being unfairly targeted by this tax. TREB’s efforts were strongly supported by the public, who also spoke out strongly against the LTT. The public spoke loudly then, but they spoke even louder last October when they gave Mayor Ford an overwhelming and clear mandate to repeal this unfair tax.
The City’s proposed 2011 Budget is an important step to delivering on the Mayor’s LTT mandate. In particular, it begins the process of addressing the City’s financial challenges with fair options, including cost-containment measures. Furthermore, it sets the stage for a forthcoming detailed program and service review, which Mayor Ford has announced will begin in March. This is an important process, and one that Realtors have been calling for.
For years, Toronto’s taxpayers have been bearing the burden of unsustainable City budgets. We believe that the proposed 2011 Budget stops the bleeding, and that by moving forward with Mayor Ford’s commitments, including repealing the LTT, next year’s budget will allow Toronto to flourish.
So if I say that I also disagree with the City of Toronto’s ‘new’ Land Transfer Tax, will I automatically be disqualified from having an opinion since I am a Realtor?
Taxes are fact of life, and nobody likes paying them.
Nobody likes hearing about them, and nobody likes new taxes.
But “when” to tax and “where” to tax are issues that have plagued every politician throughout history.
If you ever really sat down and listed off every dollar we pay in tax, I’m willing to bet that out of $1.00 of income, we pay $0.75 of it in taxes. I’m not just talking about the big three taxes – income tax, sales tax, and property tax. I’m talking about all the stupid little BS taxes.
When I bought a printer through Dell, I was charged a “printer disposal fee,” since it is assumed that I am throwing away a printer in order to purchase a new one. But what if that was the first printer I ever bought? How would I go about proving that I should be exempt from this tax? More importantly – why are we paying such a stupid tax?
Dalton McGuinty is among the most creative tax enthusiasts we’ve ever seen, what with his new “eco fees” implemented last year that charge $4.03 for every can of paint and $0.12 per pill of every prescription filled.
Simply put: you can tax anything, anywhere, at any time.
Let’s come up with some ideas right now.
I’m sitting on my couch as I write this, looking around my condo.
How about a “TV tax,” since people buying so many new flat-screen TV’s? I’m not electrician, but I’m sure somewhere in that TV is some sort of “bulb” that is bad for the environment….or not. Regardless, let’s implement a $15.00 “TV tax” for every new television bought in Ontario.
Now that the world has Kindle’s, how about a “book tax” of $0.25 per book? I mean, gaaawsh, it’s like 2011 – get with it – nobody reads books anymore! Long live video games and reality television! Shame on those people who want to better themselves by reading – let’s tax that ass!
I just bought new stainless steel appliances last week. How come there was no tax on that? Some sort of “bulk disposal fee” of say $30 per item? Even though I sold the fridge, stove, and dishwasher to a guy on Craigslist, I would think the government would argue, “Well, with the subsequent purchase of new appliances, your old appliances WILL be disposed of at some point……so let’s have that $30 per piece, now.”
How about a tax for every child born into this world?
What about a tax for thoughts?
If it exists – tax it.
So where does it all end?
Or more specifically, what evaluation criteria does the municipal, provincial, or federal government use when contemplating a new tax?
The Toronto LTT was an awful idea, in my opinion, since the tax already existed in the form of the provincial tax. I’ve heard some people counter-argue, “There is sales tax on every item we buy – made up of provincial AND federal – so why can’t we have two taxes on other items as well, like real estate?”
Well, I suppose that’s true, if you like double taxation…
But I’m not sure what David Miller was thinking when he implemented the double Land Transfer Tax, since he was effectively trying to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
With the average price of a Toronto home around $454,000 in February of 2011, that means the average home buyer will pay over $10,000 in land transfer tax – or DOUBLE what they would have paid before the Toronto LTT was implemented.
Why make the cost of buying a home so prohibitive?
In 2008, the year of our dear double land transfer tax, a study by Altus Clayton revealed determined that every re-sale housing transaction in Ontario generates approximately $33,425 in economic spin-off activity on things like renovations, furniture, and appliances.
Making it difficult and expensive to purchase a home in Toronto will only serve to hurt our economy as a whole. Didn’t Mr. Miller think of this?
Every action has a reaction, and the Toronto land transfer tax is arbitrary and costly.
I voted for Rob Ford, not just because he looks like the kinda guy that enjoys chicken wings and football, but because he recognizes that double taxation is unfair to taxpayers, and ultimately the short term benefit to the tax pool could pale in comparison to the long term detriment to the economy.
Oh – and I hate the idea of an above ground LRT, or any more streetcars, but that’s a topic for another day…Back To Top Back To Comments