How to Read Your Tax Bill
If you own property in the Province of Ontario, you will receive a property tax bill each and every year. The property taxes are most often determined by the municipality in which the property exists, based on the municipal tax rate, education rate and the property’s assessment by MPAC*. In our area, the tax rates are set by each of our municipalities: Town of Collingwood, Town of Wasaga Beach, Clearview Township, Municipality of Meaford, The Blue Mountains, and Municipality of Grey Highlands. Tax rates are set by the municipality as part of their annual budgeting process and based on their tax revenue requirements.
How are taxes calculated? Current value assessment multiplied by the tax rate.
Now let’s have a look at a tax bill:
- At the top right-hand side, you’ll see the word INTERIM – which tells you this is the first bill of the year. The Interim Tax Levy is based on 50% of your last year’s total property taxes.
- Next is your Roll Number, which identifies your property in the Property tax world. This number is used by municipalities, counties and MPAC to I.D. your property.
- Mortgage Company – if you pay your taxes with your mortgage, that name of that company will appear in this box.
- Name and Address and Municipal and Legal Address – come next, and those are self-explanatory. This information should be correct, but it doesn’t hurt to double check it.
- Next, we have the Assessment. The assessment comes from MPAC. The Class, in this case, is RTEP. The RT means Residential and EP means English Public-school support. On the FINAL tax bill, you would see the tax rate as well in the next section, because the current year’s tax rate would have been set by that time.
- Special Charges – none right now on this bill, but if there were any, it would appear in that section, together with the By-law authorizing the charge.
- Due Dates: This person pays in installments, so you’ll see there are two amounts listed there – one in February and one in May. After the FINAL bill comes out, there would be two more installments, usually slightly higher because of the new tax rate in effect. (The Interim bill is based on one half of last year’s taxes and therefore uses last year’s tax rate. The final bill uses the current year’s tax rate.)
- Summary: total amount due for this Interim bill.
- Lastly, there are receipt sections in case you send the payment by mail.
- We have shown a FINAL BILL here as well, and you’ll see there is a lot of information on it with regard to the tax rate, as it is broken down by Municipal, County and Education Levies. Education tax rates are set by the province.
- The Summary details all of the payments, that have been made, including the previous INTERIM payments.
- Lastly, the account is marked “Paid in Full” once it is, and sent to you as a receipt for payment.
- A last note: you can pay your taxes electronically at many municipalities now. In the case of Collingwood, the payments are taken out each month, January through October.
*MPAC: The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation – assesses property values across Ontario.