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Globe and Mail: Property Tax Reform for Small Business (Main Street0
Cailynn Klingbeil | November 2, 2017

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Toronto eyes new tax class that could spell relief for small businesses

From Issue No. 262 | November 3, 2017

Frédéric Geisweiller, owner of Le Sélect Bistro in downtown Toronto, says he may be forced to sell the property to a developer if the city doesn’t address soaring tax bills.
The City of Toronto is exploring the idea of creating a new property-tax class that could provide relief for small businesses facing soaring assessments and tax bills. This follows moves to create a similar plan to help cultural hubs in the city.Rapid redevelopment coupled with an assessment model that values properties with smaller buildings the same as ones with larger developments are causing challenges for small business owners."I'm being asked to pay on the building's hypothetical value, which has not been realized," says Frédéric Geisweiller, owner of Le Sélect Bistro in downtown Toronto.
Mr. Geisweiller says nearby construction in the neighbourhood has led to both a drop in customers and a jump in his building's assessed value. He's facing a 55 per cent increase in his non-residential property tax bill this year over last year, to $93,667 from $60,131. By 2020, if the tax rate stays the same, he expects to pay $203,710, which is 239 per cent more than last year's bill.
"It's unsustainable," Mr. Geisweiller says, adding this is the toughest issue he's faced in his 40 years of owning the restaurant.


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