Ottawa commercial tax rates remain among Canada's highest: Altus Group

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Ottawa’s commercial tax rates inched closer to the Canadian average this year but are still among the highest in the country, according to a new report from a major real estate services firm.

In its latest Canadian Property Tax Rate Benchmark Report, Altus Group says businesses in Ottawa pay an estimated $26.64 in property taxes per $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. That’s down 1.4 per cent from last year but still the fourth-highest rate among 11 major cities in Canada behind Montreal ($36.99), Quebec City ($35.03) and Halifax ($34.41).

The country’s overall average is $23.57, according to Altus.

Meanwhile, Altus says the average Ottawa homeowner pays $10.85 in property taxes per $1,000 of assessed property value. That’s the third-highest rate in Canada behind Halifax ($11.96) and Winnipeg ($11.94).

Altus also compared commercial property tax rates to residential rates. Ottawa’s commercial-to-residential tax ratio is 2.45, meaning a commercial property valued at $1 million would incur property taxes 2.45 times higher than an equally valued residential property. 

That’s slightly below the national average of 2.65 and continues a trend that’s seen Ottawa’s ratio decline for the past four years.

Altus argues that the ratio matters because it illustrates the relative tax burden on businesses and residents.

“High commercial property taxes place a greater weight on businesses to contribute an unequitable share of municipal and education budgets,” the report says. 

“While every homeowner would appreciate paying less property tax, it is important to balance the burden paid by businesses in each city. Lower commercial property taxes help make cities more competitive and promote job growth.”