Property Tax Assessment on Trailers

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Q. & A. ABOUT ASSESSMENT

1.Q. Why do I have to pay municipal taxes for my trailer?

Starting in 2004, the provincial government decided that some seasonal trailers were assessable. If The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) has assessed your trailer you will then be invoiced for the resulting municipal tax.

2.Q. How do I know that you are charging me only my share of the tax bill?

In 2008 MPAC finally came and reassessed the trailers at Bare Oaks. We have used the data they provided. If you received an invoice, we have attached the list of sites assessed, the tax rate used by East Gwillimbury and each trailer’s tax levy.

3.Q. Why are some trailers assessed and others not?

MPAC’s current criteria is to assess units greater than 8’6” wide or units less than 8’-6” that have attachments making them immovable (e.g. porches or sunrooms). They have stated that with existing legislation they are empowered to assess every seasonal trailer that shows signs of permanency. They say that their criteria are a work in progress. We don’t know where it will stop. They came in the spring of 2008 to reassess the park. However, they seemed overwhelmed by the number of new trailers and told us they would send experts to reassess. To this date, this has not happened so we are continuing to use the old assessment data provided by Carol & Larry Bean.

4.Q. I pay for my lot, why don’t you pay the tax without charging me?

This tax is an expense directly attributable to your trailer. The charge is based on MPAC’s assessment of the value of your trailer and is unrelated in any other way to the park. It is not an operating expense covered in our budget, nor is it recovered in the rates we charge all of our campers. To spread the taxes evenly over all sites in the park would be unfair given that some people have very expensive trailers that increase the property taxes much more than others.

5.Why is GST charged on the tax?

The Winter 2006 (#59) issue of Canada Revenue Agency’s Excise and GST/HST News clearly stated that we are to collect GST when we recover the property tax associated with your trailer.

6.Q. I thought that because I had to pay provincial tax on my trailer when purchased that it was treated as personal property. (i.e. chattel) Now they are treating it as real property and taxing it. Does that mean I won’t have to pay Provincial Sales Tax if I purchase a trailer?

At this time the government is treating it as both tangible personal property to collect P.S.T. and at the same time real property for residential tax. This has created double taxation and that is fundamentally unfair.

7.I heard that the courts had ruled against trailer assessment. Why do I still have to pay tax?

In 2004, a small group of campground owners called the R.V. Action Association used Carson’s Camp as a test case to challenge MPAC and the Ontario Government with regards to trailer assessment.

On October 3rd, 2006, Justice O’Connell determined in his Reasons for Judgement that MPAC had unlawfully assessed as “land” 229 trailers located within Carsons’ Campground at Sauble Beach and the Court ordered MPAC to reassess Carsons’ land without any reference to the additional 3 million dollar value for the 229 trailers separately owned by third party campers.

Despite this clear ruling, the Ontario Government and MPAC appealed the decision. On January 14, 2008, the Court of Appeal overturned Justice O’Connell’s 2006 ruling.

In April 2008, the RV Action Association decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court. The costs would have been in excess of $250,000 with no guarantee that the case would even have been heard. As such, it appears that the trailer assessment will continue unless the government decides to revise the legislation.

8.Q. What can I do to fight this tax?

You can write to your member of parliament and to the government minister of Finance, Municipal Affairs, and Tourism, and the Premier of Ontario, and let them know of your objection to assessment. You can protest through the media or by participating in rallies. You can vote against this government at the next opportunity. You can seek the support of opposition members of parliament. You can protest to the municipal government.

When writing letters, here are some points you can make:

  • They are charging property tax on a chattel. Proof that it is a chattel:
    • •Trailers are Ministry of Transportation registered (so they are vehicles and the value of your house is not based on the car in the driveway)
    • •They charged PST and GST at purchase.
  • They are taxing Indirectly.
  • The bill is sent to the landowner who doesn't own the object being taxed.
  • They are taxing land at higher than market value.
  • Market value by definition is the price a willing purchaser would have to pay a willing seller.
  • Our park is not going to fetch a greater price because any one trailer is on the land.
  • The purchaser of a park is not buying any of the trailers. Thus they cannot be included in the assessment when we use Market Value Assessment.

9.Q. Where can I get more information?

For more information, visit:

www.mpac.ca/pages_english/procedures/procedure_for_permanent_trailers_qs_and_as.asp

 

 

 

 

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