Tax Assistance Programs

There are various tax assistance programs available for residential taxpayers based on age or income.

There are also legislated programs for commercial/industrial properties that are vacant, or partially vacant, as well as charitable or not for profit rebates where a qualifying group rents commercial or industrial space.

Residential programs

The deferral of tax increase program allows you to defer the increase in property taxes only (not subject to interest) until the property is sold.

Eligibility

If you own a residential property, you may be eligible to defer the annual tax increase if all of these qualifications are met:

  • You and/or your spouse:
    • are at least 65 years of age prior to January 1, 2018 (born 1952 or earlier), OR
    • are in receipt of assistance paid under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), a disability paid under the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) or an amount paid under the CPP disability benefit.
  • Your combined income (applicant and spouse) is $35,300 or less as indicated on line 150 (Total Income) of Canada Revenue Agency’s 2017 Notice of Assessment(s).
  • You and/or your spouse occupy the residential property as your principal residence.
  • You and/or your spouse have owned the residential property for at least one year preceding the application date.

Program details

  • Deferral amounts are a special lien on the participating property and will be reflected on Tax Certificates issued.
  • An annual application is required to defer the current year tax increase.
  • Deferral amounts are not subject to interest while the applicant remains eligible for the program.  Where deferral amounts become payable (i.e. property is sold) and not immediately repaid, the outstanding deferral amount will be subject to interest.
  • Prior year property taxes, exclusive of prior deferrals, must be paid in full at the time of application.
  • Property must be assessed in the residential property class.  For multiple use properties, only the residential portion is used to determine eligibility and the deferral amount.
  • Accumulated deferral amounts cannot exceed 40% of the assessed value of the property.

Apply for the deferral of tax increase

You may apply at any time during the year up until and including the last day of February of the following year.  Owner or spouse cannot apply for a deferral for more than one property in any year. 

2018 Deferal Tax Increase Form (PDF, 26 KB)

By mail:
City of Hamilton
Corporate Services Department, Taxation Section
71 Main Street West, 1st Floor
PO Box 2040 STN LCD 1
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 0A3
Fax: 905-546-2449

In person:
Bring the completed form and all supporting documentation to Hamilton City Hall or to your local Municipal Service Centre.

To learn more about the program or if you have any questions, contact us at 905-546-2489 or taxsupport@hamilton.ca.

Starting in 2018, a new 3-year pilot program allows you to defer the full amount of property taxes (subject to interest) until the property is sold.

Eligibility

If you own a residential property, you may be eligible to defer to defer the total taxes levied in 2018 if all of these qualifications are met:

  • You and/or your spouse:
    • are at least 65 years of age prior to January 1, 2018 (born 1952 or earlier), OR
    • are in receipt of assistance paid under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), a disability paid under the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) or an amount paid under the CPP disability benefit.
  • Your combined income (applicant, spouse and all other registered owners) is $35,300 or less as indicated on line 150 (Total Income) of Canada Revenue Agency’s 2017 Notice of Assessment(s).
  • You and/or your spouse occupy the residential property as your principal residence.
  • You and/or your spouse have owned the residential property for at least one year preceding the application date.

Program details

  • Deferral amounts are subject to interest, compounded annually (2018 rate = 5%).
  • Deferral amounts and applicable interest are a special lien on the participating property and will be reflected on Tax Certificates issued.  Deferred amounts and applicable interest become payable immediately if the property is sold.
  • An annual application is required to defer the current year tax increase.
  • Partial deferrals are permitted.  Other charges added to the tax roll will not be deferred.
  • A non-refundable application fee of $200 (plus HST) must be paid at the time of application (annual renewal fee of $100 thereafter). 
  • Prior year property taxes, exclusive of prior deferrals, must be paid in full at the time of application.
  • Property must be assessed in the residential property class.  For multiple use properties, only the residential portion is used to determine eligibility and the deferral amount.
  • Accumulated deferral amounts, including interest, cannot exceed 40% of the assessed value of the property.

Apply for the full tax deferral

You may apply at any time during the year up until and including the last day of September of the current year. You are encouraged to apply a soon as you receive your tax bill to enrol prior to the tax instalment due dates. Owner or spouse cannot apply for a deferral for more than one property in any year.

2018 Full Tax Deferal Form (PDF, 27 KB)

By mail:
City of Hamilton
Corporate Services Department, Taxation Section
71 Main Street West, 1st Floor
PO Box 2040 STN LCD 1
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 0A3
Fax: 905-546-2449

In person:
Bring the completed form and all supporting documentation to Hamilton City Hall or to your local Municipal Service Centre.

To learn more about the program or if you have any questions, contact us at 905-546-2489 or taxsupport@hamilton.ca.

Eligibility

You may be eligible for a $190 property tax credit if all of these qualifications are met:

  1. You and/or your spouse are at least 65 years of age prior to January 1, 2018 (born 1952 or earlier).
  2. Your combined income of the property owner and spouse is $35,300 or less as indicated on line 150 (Total Income) of Canada Revenue Agency’s 2017 Notice of Assessment(s).
  3. You and/or your spouse occupy the residential property as your principal residence.
  4. You and/or your spouse have owned the residential property for at least one year preceding the application date.
  5. The assessed value of the residential property must be at or below $437,000.
  6. Prior year property taxes are paid in full.

Apply for a seniors tax rebate

You may apply at any time during the year up until and including the last day of February of the following year. Owner or spouse cannot apply for a rebate for more than one residential property in any year.

To apply, complete a 2018 Seniors (65+) Tax Rebate Program Form (PDF, 24 KB) and submit:

By mail:
City of Hamilton
Corporate Services Department, Taxation Section
71 Main Street West, 1st Floor
PO Box 2040 STN LCD 1
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 0A3
Fax: 905-546-2449

In person:
Bring the completed form and all supporting documentation to Hamilton City Hall or to your local Municipal Service Centre.

To learn more about the program or if you have any questions, contact us at 905-546-2489 or taxsupport@hamilton.ca.

Compassionate appeals are for people who wish to receive a tax reduction due to extreme sickness or poverty. 

Compassionate appeals process

The City of Hamilton accepts compassionate appeals and submits them to the Assessment Review Board, or ARB, on your behalf. The deadline for filing a compassionate appeal is the last business day of February of the year following the year under appeal.

The ARB mails a Notice of Hearing to you with the date, place and time when they will hear your appeal. Hearings are scheduled once a year, usually in April.  You, or a representative, must attend the hearing to have your tax reduction request considered.

Documentation verifying your financial information must be available at your hearing. Bring your current income tax return to the hearing as proof of your financial status.

Appeal for extreme poverty

If your compassionate appeal is due to extreme poverty, complete a Financial Statement (PDF, 22 KB) and mail it to:

City of Hamilton
Corporate Services Department, Taxation Section
PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
Attention: Tax Appeals Officer
71 Main Street West, 1st Floor
PO Box 2040 STN LCD 1
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 0A3

Appeal for extreme sickness

If your compassionate appeal is due to extreme sickness, have your doctor complete the Attending Physician’s Statement (PDF, 57 KB) and mail it with a Financial Statement (PDF, 22 KB) to:

City of Hamilton
Corporate Services Department, Taxation Section
71 Main St West, 1st Floor
Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5
Fax: 905-546-2449

All applications and supporting documentation will remain confidential.

To learn more about this program, call the Tax Appeals Officer at 905-546-2424 ext. 2776.

Legislative programs

Provincial legislation requires municipalities to have a tax rebate program for registered charities for all years after 2003.

Eligibility

If you are a registered charitable organization under the provisions of the Canada Income Tax Act and lease space in a commercial or industrial building, you may be eligible for a 40% rebate in taxes this year.

Apply for a rebate

If you are eligible to receive the rebate according to eligibility criteria outlined above, complete the Charitable Rebate Application Form (PDF, 31 KB) and submit it to:

Corporate Services Department, Taxation Section
71 Main Street West, 1st Floor
PO Box 2040 STN LCD 1
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 0A3
Fax: 905-546-2449

For more information about this rebate, call 905-546-2489.

If you own a commercial or industrial property that is partially or entirely vacant, you may be eligible for a reduction in taxes for the period of the vacancy.

Eligibility

You may be eligible for a reduction in taxes if you have:

  • An entire commercial or industrial building that was unused for at least 90 consecutive days
  • A suite or unit within a commercial building that:
    • was unused for 90 consecutive days
    • is clearly delineated or physically separated from the used portions of the building
    • is either capable of being leased for immediate occupation or  undergoing or in need of repairs or renovations that prevent it from being available for lease for immediate occupation, or is  unfit for occupation
    • A portion of an industrial building that:
  • was unused for 90 consecutive days
  • is clearly delineated or physically separated from the used portions of the building

A building or portion of a building is not eligible for a rebate if:

  • it is used for commercial or industrial activity on a seasonal basis
  • it was subject to a lease during the period of vacancy, the term of which had started
  • during the period or vacancy it was included in a sub-class for vacant land

Apply for a tax reduction

You may submit a maximum of two Vacant Commercial and Industrial Rebate Applications (PDF, 208 KB) per property per year.  You can submit either:

  • One application for all vacancies that occurred on a property for the entire tax year
  • One application for vacancies during the first six months of the year and a second application for vacancies occurring in the last six months of the year.

Submit your application to:

City of Hamilton
Corporate Services Department, Taxation Section
71 Main St West, 1st Floor
PO Box 2040 STN LCD 1
Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5
Fax: 905-546-2449

The deadline for submitting an application is February 28 of the year following the taxation year to which the application relates.

Upcoming changes to the vacant units reduction program

Starting in 2017, the vacant unit rebate program will be phased out over two years with a 30% rebate in 2017, a 15% rebate in 2018 and a 0% rebate in 2019. Detailed information about the changes can be found in the report New Municipal Flexibility for Vacant Unit Rebates and Vacant / Excess Land Subclasses (PDF, 770 KB)

For more information about this tax reduction, call 905-546-2489.

You can apply to have your property taxes cancelled, reduced or refunded in certain conditions as per Section 357 and 358 of the Municipal Act.

  • File a Section 357 Tax Appeal due to a change event occurring during the taxation year such as a fire, tax class conversion or removal of a mobile unit on the property.
  • File a Section 358 Tax Appeal to cancel, reduce or refund taxes for one or both of the two years before the year in which the application is made.
  • File a Section 358 Tax Appeal for any overcharge caused by a gross or manifest error in the preparation of the assessment roll that is clerical or factual, including the transposition of figures, a typographical error or similar errors, but not an error in judgment in assessing the property.

Apply for a reduction, cancellation or refund

Complete the Application for Cancellation or Reduction of Taxes Form (PDF, 27 KB) and mail to:

City of Hamilton
Corporate Services Department, Taxation Section
71 Main St West, 1st Floor
PO Box 2040 STN LCD 1
Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5
Fax: 905-546-2449

The deadline for submitting an application is February 28 of the year following the taxation year to which the application relates.