The Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP) is a voluntary program administered by the Ministry of Natural Resources providing lower property taxes to participating landowners who agree to conserve and actively manage their forests. If your land has forest area of 4 ha/10 acres or more, you can receive property tax relief of up to 75%, by having a managed forest plan. The MFTIP also requires that you have a minimum number of trees per hectare. Open areas such as outcrops and wetlands may qualify if they contribute to the objectives of the plan. Plans must be approved by a Managed Forest Plan Approver. Plans outline actions to be followed for forest management and may include various cutting practices as well as conservation actions such as wildlife observation, invasive species control and reforestation. The plan has a life span of twenty years. Audits or plan reviews are prepared and submitted every five years. For more information about this program, see our Links and Resources page or visit www.oforest.on.ca or www.ont-woodlot-assoc.org
Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program (CLTIP). Under this program, landowners agreeing to protect the natural values of habitats or areas identified by the Ministry of Natural Resources as provincially significant are eligible for tax relief of up to 100%. Significant lands include significant wetlands, areas sheltering species at risk and their habitats, community conservation lands (owned by charitable conservation organizations) or which are part of an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest. Applications for lands that qualify are sent out by OMNR for completion and registration. The CLTIP is voluntary. For more information about this program, see our Links page, visit www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/cltip, or call 1-800-268-8959.
Under the Province’s Farmland Taxation Policy, portions of farm properties satisfying eligibility requirements will be identified in the Farmlands Property Class and will be taxed at 25% of the municipal residential/farm tax rate. For more information about this program, see our Links and Resources page, or visit www.omafra.gov.on.ca
Cultural Heritage Designations: Cultural Heritage sites include archeological sites, ruins, monuments, buildings, farms, and natural features that have a cultural interest, and more. Evaluation criteria and protection of the sites is set out in the Ontario Heritage Act. Conservation Agreements for cultural heritage sites may also be held by municipalities and the Ontario Heritage Trust, and may qualify for tax benefits. Some municipalities participate in the Heritage Property Tax Reduction Program, with up to a 40% reduction in property taxes for properties with a heritage designation or agreement. A municipal by-law is required to participate in this type of program. www.culture.gov.on.ca
Land Trust Options
A number of conservation options exist for landowners who shelter significant natural or cultural features on their properties. Many options may involve significant tax benefits.
What will your property look like in 100 years? Landowners are often concerned about what will become of their cottage or other property in the future as development pressures increase. One option is to enter into a conservation agreement with a land trust. This provides the flexibility of retaining ownership while restricting certain activities in perpetuity. A Land Trust or Conservancy is a regionally based not-for-profit registered charity. Land trusts can enter into conservation agreements with landowners who want to protect the natural or cultural values on their property. The property owner can receive significant tax benefits for this donation of interest, and the conservation agreement is tied to the title of the land so that all future owners are bound by the same conditions. The Conservancy assumes the responsibility of ensuring that the agreement is upheld by future owners of the property. The restrictions in a conservation agreement are customized by the owner and the recipient organization, and can accommodate future plans. The agreement can also restrict specified uses, practices or developments that would otherwise damage the natural or cultural features on the property. They can apply to all or only the significant portion of a property (e.g. the shoreline). Since these are agreements, they can be tailored to meet the owner’s needs.
Land Trusts can also receive outright donations of properties, and donations of property to another organization (e.g. a municipality or school) can also utilize a conservation agreement to help conserve the property’s important features.
scf.ec.gc.ca; some conservation agreements may reduce property taxes paid on the land; and conservation agreements often lower future transfer, probate and goods and services taxes. s stewardship investment as well as to preserve our natural heritage. Residents of the United States may be able to obtain U.S. tax benefits for gifts of significant properties situated in Canada. For more detailed information about Conservation Agreements, Donations and the tax benefits of making a donation to a Conservancy, see our Links and Resources page.