City of Toronto staff report lays groundwork for a new small business tax class in Toronto

Today, Mayor John Tory announced a City of Toronto staff report going to Executive Committee next week recommends that a small business tax subclass be created starting in 2022 to provide small businesses with tax relief.

As part of the 2020 provincial budget, municipalities were given the ability to create a small business tax subclass to provide a lower property tax rate for small businesses within the commercial tax class. Earlier this year, City Council directed City staff to define and develop a small business tax subclass to address the preservation and rebuilding of Toronto’s main streets and to offer tax reductions for a broad range of small businesses across Toronto.

The report recommends that a 15 per cent tax reduction be applied to small businesses within the commercial tax class. The remaining properties in the commercial tax class will see a property tax rate increase of 0.85 per cent in the municipal portion of property taxes to fund the tax relief. It is estimated that these reductions will apply to approximately 25,000 small businesses across Toronto, or 60 per cent of all commercial properties.

To qualify to be a part of this tax subclass, business are separated into two categories: 

Businesses located downtown, on the central waterfront, in designated growth centres or avenues in the City’s Official Plan

  • properties must be classified within the commercial or new commercial tax class
  • properties must have a Current Value Assessment (CVA) less than or equal to $7 million
  • lots must be 7,500 sq. feet or less, or for commercial condos a gross floor area of 2,500 sq. feet or less

Businesses located anywhere else in the city

  • properties must be classified within the commercial or new commercial tax class
  • properties must have a CVA less than or equal to $1 million

There is no application needed for this tax relief as all commercial properties will be assessed for their eligibility. There will also be a request for reconsideration or appeal process for properties owners who feel their property should be included in the new tax subclass. 

This tax will be revenue neutral for the City. The provincial government is expected to match the municipal tax rate reduction with a corresponding reduction in the business education tax for all eligible small business property owners.

The full report to Executive Committee, Implementing a Small Business Property Tax Subclass, is available online: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2021.EX27.7.

Quotes:

“Small businesses are the heart of this city, and these last 19 months have been extraordinarily tough for small business owners in Toronto. This new tax class will support new and existing small businesses located on Toronto's main streets, helping them to thrive in a post-pandemic environment and well into the future. We want small business owners to know we support them and we are committed to their prosperity.”
– Mayor John Tory 

“Small businesses in Toronto over the last number of years have endured increases in property taxes beyond the average – and the creation of this tax class will change that. This is about creating fairness and equity in the tax system – so the small book store isn't subject to the same tax rate as the large shopping mall. Providing broad tax relief to small businesses is important for Toronto's diverse and thriving local economy.”

– Heather Taylor, Chief Financial Officer

“We have continued to manage the City's finances responsibly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The small business tax subclass will provide much needed relief to hardworking small businesses across our city and ensure they can continue to prosper in our city. It is another example of the work we are doing to support people through the worst of COVID-19 and the safe reopening of the city.”

– Councillor Gary Crawford (Scarborough Southwest), Chair of the Budget Committee

“Supporting small main street businesses is key to Toronto’s economic recovery. These businesses, from local barber shops or coffee shops to restaurants, bistros and specialty retailers are the heart and soul of their communities. We need to create policies that ensure these businesses can not only stay in our communities, but thrive in our communities.”

– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee

“Reducing small businesses taxes across the city takes some of the strain off our main streets – many of which have been struggling throughout the pandemic. It's about creating a level playing field – making sure that our local mom and pops aren't taxed in the same way as large commercial businesses. It's important that small business owners know we're going to keep supporting them as we move into our recovery phase. Their success is our success.”

– Councillor Brad Bradford (Beaches-East York)

Mayor John Tory announces first registration window for expanded CaféTO program will open this Friday

Mayor John Tory announced today that the first registration window for the expanded CaféTO program will open this Friday, February 26 at 9 a.m. The first window will remain open for a full month, until Friday, March 26, and the second window will open immediately afterward.

Starting on Friday morning, local restaurant and bar operators interested in expanding their outdoor dining space into the curb lane and onto sidewalks can register online using a clear process. Pending public health orders, approved CaféTO curb lane locations from the first window would be installed as soon as mid-May – almost two months earlier than last year and in time for the May long weekend.

Toronto City Council approves bigger and better CaféTO program to help local restaurants

Toronto City Council today unanimously approved a bigger and better CaféTO program to help Toronto’s main street restaurants and bars during the City’s ongoing pandemic response.

The first wave of registration for the expanded CaféTO program will begin in late February and, pending public health orders, the first approved CaféTO curb lane closure locations for 2021 would be in installed as soon as May – almost two months earlier than last year.

City of Toronto report outlines plan for bigger and better CaféTO program in 2021 to help local restaurants

Today, Mayor John Tory endorsed a new City of Toronto report that recommends an expanded CaféTO program starting this spring to help Toronto’s main street restaurants and bars during the ongoing pandemic.

The report, which will be considered at the meeting of Executive Committee on Wednesday, January 27, includes details about the CaféTO – a quick-start pandemic response program launched last summer – and outlines key findings and outcomes along with recommendations on how to ensure the program is bigger and better this year.

GTA Local Business Districts Gain Support for Public Art!

TORONTONov. 10, 2020 /CNW/ - Presented with RBC Royal Bank, The STEPS Initiative is pleased to announce the winners of the I heART Main Street Art Challenge.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, STEPS supported GTA 11 Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) to develop 41 art installations in collaboration with 20 local artists. Ranging from sidewalk decals to storefront exhibits, installations fostered a sense of community during local economic recovery.

City of Toronto extends partnership with Ritual to launch Open For Business to support local businesses

Today, Mayor John Tory announced the City of Toronto is extending its partnership with Ritual to launch Open For Business – a collaboration with Ritual and DoorDash to help local businesses across Toronto increase their commission-free online sales.

Ritual ONE is typically accessed by restaurants, bars and food services, such as cafes, bakeries, butchers and grocers. However, this program is available to any Toronto business that wants to access commission-free pickup and delivery.

Plan to allow use of heaters to extend outdoor patio season at restaurants welcomed by local councillors

By Ali Raza, Beach Metro News

Restaurants in East Toronto and across the city can keep their patios open as the cold weather approaches.

The City of Toronto recently announced plans to allow restaurants, bars, and cafes to allow portable heaters in all outdoor patios.

It’s aimed at making outdoor dining appealing to customers in the colder weather and to help give business owners a chance to generate revenue in the face of economic challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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