As Toronto Budget Committee Starts Settling the Review of the 2014 Budget, Realtors® Request Everyone be Granted Home Buying Tax Relief

Today, as the City of Toronto Budget Committee initiates the final detailing of the City’s 2014 Budget appraisal, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) is asking City Council to go ahead and offer help through the Toronto Home Buying Tax (Land Transfer Tax) for all people who have purchased homes, and to also maintain the help they provide to people who are buying a home for the first time. These ideas presented by TREB are undoubtedly seconded by innumerable citizens of Toronto, who have made their voices heard through several means including emails directed to the City Councilors.

Dianne Usher, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board, stated the following: “The Home Buying Tax is not helping individuals, but instead damaging them when they’re most vulnerable. It punishes people such as growing families or retirees. City Council may as well do its part in keeping Toronto within price ranges by offering help to manage Home Buying Tax for all home purchasers.”

As of late, it has been suggested in publications that the City’s Budget Committee may take into account one proposal regarding the elimination of the Land Transfer Tax on the first $200,000-$300,000 of property value for all home buyers, but at the same time remove the current rebate which currently helps first time home buyers regarding the amount of Land Transfer Tax payable up to a $400,000 home. If this modification is accepted, such a proposal would mean that first-time home purchasers would pay more Land Transfer Tax than what they must pay as of now. TREB has publicly rejected this proposal, letting the Budget Committee know that all home purchasers, as well as first time purchasers, should be helped with the Land Transfer Tax. Furthermore, TREB highlighted that first-time home buyers should receive more help and not less, since the actual first-time buyer rebate limits on a $400,000 home, despite the fact that current costs of Toronto homes are roughly around $570,000 and climbing.

Von Palmer, TREB’s Chief Government and Public Affairs Officer, said the following: “It is very true that people who are purchasing a home for the first time, even when acquiring land underneath regular prices, must pay quite a substantial amount in Toronto Home Buying Tax. Any proposal to take away the rebate which helps first-time buyers will simply make matters worse. People purchasing their first home need more help, not less.”

Furthermore, TREB has indicated to the City’s Budget Committee that the present tax rates of the Home Buying Tax are not properly set since they force the highest tax rate on those individuals who are buying homes beneath the average price range. Nowadays, the highest Land Transfer Tax rate applies to homes valued over $400,000, a disproportionate amount considering that the City’s current average is around $570,000 and rising.

“The Home Buying Tax has been increasingly regressive as home prices rise since those tax rates have not been adjusted for inflation. When someone purchases a home with a lower price than the City’s average, they must pay the highest tax rate, and that is nonsensical,” said Palmer.

TREB encourages everyone to visit www.letsgetthisrighttoronto.ca to contact City Council and express their opinion to make the best decision and eliminate the Home Buying Tax. Thousands of Torontonians have expressed themselves already.

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