Seniors who pay property taxes in Ontario can look forward to a tax break starting next year. The maximum amount of the tax break for 2009 is $250, and for subsequent years it is $500.
The tax reduction won’t come off the city tax bill directly, though. This program is part of the Ontario Tax Credits. Seniors who qualify and submit form ON479 at income tax time will get a tax deduction or rebate on their income taxes.
In 2009, a senior couple with a combined income under $45,000 will get the whole $250, and the amount of deduction drops off to zero for combined incomes over $60,000. Single seniors in 2009 whose income is under $35,000 will get the whole $250, and the amount of deduction drops off to zero for incomes over $50,000.
It’s hard to disagree with a policy like this when you imagine an elderly widow living in near poverty being forced from her home because she can’t afford the property taxes. However, this does shift the tax burden slightly from seniors to younger people, and it’s not difficult for seniors with substantial savings to keep their incomes low enough to qualify for this tax break.
As the proportion of seniors in the population increases, there will be increasing pressure on governments to shift more of the tax burden away from seniors onto young people. I’ll probably be less concerned about this once I become a senior myself.