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Heritage Property Tax Relief Program

The City of Cornwall introduced in 2005 a Heritage Property Tax Relief Program to offer tax relief to owners of heritage properties to help maintain and restore these unique and valuable resources.   With assistance from representatives from Heritage Cornwall, a mutually acceptable work program has been developed to help offset the added costs of preserving designated architectural elements.

Amount of Tax Relief

The amount of the heritage tax relief shall be 40% of the taxes for municipal and education purposes levied on eligible residential and commercial properties.  The refund shall be in the form of a rebate cheque to the registered landowner(s).  In the event of a land ownership transfer, the refund shall be determined to be on a pro-rated scale based on the time of the property sale.  The new owner would have to apply to the program to initiate or continue the program funding for the subject property.

How is the Tax Relief Assessed?

The tax relief applies to the eligible heritage building or structure and the lands associated with it.  With most designated properties the entire property is included in the legal description so the tax relief will be calculated against the entire property tax bill.  For example:  if you pay $2,200.00 in property taxes, you will be eligible to receive a rebate of approximately $880.00 or 40% of the total taxes.   The application submission deadline for the rebate commencement is February 28th of the following year for which the owner is first seeking relief (ie: February 29, 2016 for the tax year 2015).  This can automatically run up to 5 years, based on the registered Agreement.   As a condition to program participation, full public disclosure of property tax details is necessary.

Eligibility Criteria

An eligible heritage property must be designated as a property of cultural heritage value or interest under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (an individual property designation) or under Part V of the Act (heritage conservation district), and which pay municipal property taxes.   To be eligible or maintain program eligibility, a property must not be in tax arrears at any time.  Should a property fall into tax arrears during the period of program participation, it shall automatically forfeit any rights to the tax relief and shall be cancelled from the program until such time as the situation is satisfactorily remedied.   The property shall not be the subject of any City by-law contraventions, work orders or other outstanding municipal requirements, as of the date the application is received by the City.

The program will provide on-going relief for up to 5 years, as long as the property owner complies with their obligations under the terms and conditions of the program.  An initial application is necessary, but the Agreement of Program Participation, once registered, will be applicable for up to 5 years and no subsequent application is necessary under the subject request.  Based on Participation adherence through City monitoring, a rebate cheque will automatically be issued on annual basis for the set duration of the Agreement.

The program participant must enter into an Agreement of Program Participation (similar to a Heritage Conservation Easement) to be registered on title and in which they agree to conduct work on the property to a recognized preservation/restoration standard in exchange for the tax rebate offered under this Program.  The items to be maintained/restored will be specified in the Agreement.   Approval of the application and ongoing participation shall be reviewed and determined by the Heritage Property Tax Relief Program Committee in conjunction with Heritage Cornwall.

The Heritage Property Tax Relief Program Committee will inspect the property and photo-document all heritage attributes. This information will serve as the benchmark for comparison when follow-up inspections are conducted in future years.  On a periodic basis, there will be compliance inspection(s) to make sure that the heritage elements of the property are being maintained/restored as per the Registered Agreement.


The Heritage Tax Relief Program is subject to any regulations that the Minister of Finance may make governing by-laws on tax refunds and reductions for heritage properties.   The Heritage Tax Relief Program is also subject at all times to the availability of funding for the program. 

The City of Cornwall is not required to provide funding for this program and the program may be eliminated by Council through repeal of the enacting by-law at any time.  Funding for the Heritage Tax Relief Program will be reviewed on an annual basis by City Council.

If the participating owner fails to maintain/restore the built heritage property in accordance with the terms, conditions and intent of the Program and Agreement, the property owner will forfeit their rights to participate and may be required to refund the City for the amount of rebate, plus interest, dating back to the date of the last inspection/approval.


If you require further information regarding this Program, please contact:

Department of Planning, Parks and Recreation Services

613-930-2787 ext. 2312 or by e-mail:

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