City considering changes to vacant unit tax rebate program

Have your say!

Guelph, Ont., September 18, 2017 – Guelph taxpayers, including commercial and industrial property owners, are asked to weigh-in on the City of Guelph’s Vacant Unit Rebate program.

The Vacant Unit Rebate program provides a tax rebate to commercial or industrial property owners who have vacancies within their building(s). Owners must apply and meet eligibility criteria before being awarded a rebate of 30 per cent (vacant commercial space) or 35 per cent (vacant industrial space).

In 2016, a total of $807,000 in rebates was provide to 133 commercial or industrial properties in Guelph. Of that, $472,000 was the City’s portion. Provincial changes related to the administration of vacancy rebates allows the City to review its program and consider alternative options.

“The goal is to ensure that if we have a program, it’s fair to everyone not just those who benefit from it annually,” says James Krauter, deputy treasurer/manager taxation and revenue. “It is important  for City Council to hear from the entire community—the impacted property owners, other property owners and residential taxpayers.”

Options for consideration

  • Keep the program as is
  • Eliminate the program immediately
  • Phase out the program over a number of years
  • Keep the rebate but modify the program

The elimination of the rebate program would mean property owners who would have been eligible to receive the rebate will no longer receive that money.

You can learn more about the rebate program and its review, and comment on the proposed options on

Survey closes September 29.

2016 vacant property rebate statistics

  • 73 per cent of the rebate funding came from residential taxpayers
  • 133 properties received a rebate, totalling $807,000
    • $472,000 – City tax portion (73% of total rebate, equals 0.25 per cent of the total tax levy)
    • $328,000 – Education portion
    • $7,000 – Business Improvement Area (BIA) portion
  • Of those 133 properties:
    • 37 have been vacant more than three consecutive years
    • 11 properties received a rebate over $10,000 (outside BIA)
    • 11 properties that received a rebate are in the BIA

Media Contact

James Krauter
Deputy Treasurer/Manager Taxation and Revenue, Finance
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2334
[email protected]