Understand property assessments and taxes in Ontario

by | Mar 25, 2024 | Finance and Business, Home and Living

For many of us, our property is our single biggest asset and so its value can have a significant impact on our lives. So, have you ever wondered how your property value, and taxes, are determined?

There are more than 200 factors that are considered by The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, also known as MPAC. This independent, not-for-profit organization is responsible for assessing and classifying more than 5.6 million properties across Ontario.

According to the organization, here are five key elements that affect your property’s value:

  • Location: the neighbourhood where your home is situated plays a significant role in determining its market value. The desirability of the area often influences the amount a buyer is willing to pay.
  • Lot size: the area of your lot is calculated by multiplying the frontage by the depth.
  • Total square footage of living area: the exterior of your home is measured to determine the total area of the building. Keep in mind that this measurement doesn’t include your basement, deck, porch or garage.
  • Building age: while the house may have been built in a given year, the property value is adjusted to reflect renovations or additions.
  • Construction quality: the type of building materials used and the quality of the finishes installed are also taken into consideration.

Property assessments are available to both homeowners and local governments. Municipalities use them to help calculate property taxes.

When it comes to property taxes, each of Ontario’s 444 municipalities decide how much money is needed to build and operate thriving communities – things like running the local library or building a new park or dog run – and then they decide on the municipal tax rate. The municipality collects property taxes to pay for the municipal services. Think of it like a community fund, and your contribution (how much you pay in tax) is based on how much your property is deemed to be worth.

Understanding how assessments affect your property taxes can help you make informed decisions about your home. If you’re interested in learning more, visit mpac.ca/valuematters

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