Understanding Property Tax

Learn about how property taxes are calculated and find out what the tax rate is.

What are tax rates?

Tax rates determine how much property tax you pay, based on the assessed value of your property.  

The property tax rate is different depending on:

  • the class of property you own
  • where you live
  • the services you receive

How the tax rate is set

When the annual budget is adopted by Council for the current year, they pass a Property Tax Levy By-law and a Property Tax Rate By-law.

These By-laws establish a tax rate for every taxable property classification based on:

  • the budget requirement (tax levy)
  • the property assessments returned by the Municipal Property Tax Assessment Corporation

The tax rate is calculated by dividing the tax levy requirement by the amount of property tax assessment to come up with tax rates for each class of property.

The City of Hamilton identifies specific tax rates for a number of services to provide additional information on your tax bill.  Some tax rates apply to all properties, others apply to some properties or do not apply at all depending on the location of the property (area rated).  These tax rates are:

  • General tax rate - funds most services provided by the City and some external agencies including Conservation Authorities and Library Board
  • Provincially shared services tax rate - funds services such as paramedics, social housing, support payments and public health, which are all subsidized by the Province of Ontario
  • Police services tax rate - funds Hamilton Police Services
  • Area rated tax levies (apply depending on services in your area):
    • Transit
    • Fire
    • Recreation, sidewalk, streetlight
    • Parkland
    • Sidewalk snow removal

The Province of Ontario levies an education tax rate on all taxable properties. The rate is set by the Province and the City is required to collect these taxes and forward them to the Province.  

Interim and Final tax bills

Property taxes are billed twice per year. The Interim Tax Bill is mailed in February with instalments due on the last business day in February and April.  The Final Tax Bill is mailed in June with instalments due on the last business day in June and September.

Interim Tax Bill
Your interim tax bill is calculated by taking 50% of your previous year’s Total Taxes Levied, plus any balance on the account as of the billing date.

Final Tax Bill
Once City Council has approved the annual budget, the property tax rates for the current year are established.  Your current year’s Total Taxes Levied is calculated by taking the current year’s approved tax rates x the current year’s assessment value of your property.  Your final tax bill simply taxes your current year’s Total Taxes Levied minus (-) Interim Tax Bill plus (+) any balance on the account as of the billing date.

To learn more about the City Council approved budget visit www.hamilton.ca/budget