Commercial property tax relief is available for Toronto’s live music venues though the newly expanded Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclasses city council approved yesterday.
The new category will apply to live music venues that meet specific eligibility criteria. It is expected the tax relief measure will extend beyond this year.
Before the pandemic hit, Toronto’s live music scene had already faced ongoing pressures that threatened to close dozens of local venues. These pressures have now been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.
Shaun Bowring, owner and operator of The Garrison and The Baby G said his venues’ overhead, including rent, utilities, insurance and property tax, has gone up more than 300 per cent.
“The proposed property tax reduction will make a huge difference meeting these increased financial obligations,” he said. “With the prospect of prolonged closure due to the current COVID-19 emergency, the property tax reduction will prove to be a vital financial tool in navigating the road to reopening and recovery.”
The Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclasses were established by city council and Ontario to support the affordability and sustainability of cultural and creative spaces in Toronto. This tax relief mechanism was first made available in 2018 for qualifying properties acting as creative hubs with creative tenants. In 2019, the criteria were expanded to include membership-based co-working facilities for creative workers and enterprises.
“Commercial property tax relief for Toronto live music venues won’t just help existing venues survive COVID-19, but has the potential to double the number of our city’s venues – both by spurring commercial landlords to lease to aspiring new venues, as well as providing an economic incentive for existing spaces to create new stages for live music, which in turn greatly benefits all local music artists,” said Jeff Cohen, owner of the Horseshoe Tavern and Lee’s Palace.
The deadline for eligible live music venues to apply is June 19. Applications are available at https://www.toronto.ca/business-economy/business-operation-growth/business-incentives/creative-co-location-facilities-property-tax-subclass-designation/.