City of Vaughan Helps Seniors
Senior citizens who live in Vaughan have some options for tax assistance by the city.
If you are a senior citizen, own and occupy a home in Vaughan, you might be eligible for a tax credit. Under certain conditions, the city of Vaughan approved a tax assistance program for seniors last year.
“We give a tax credit of $290 to elderly home owners that qualify,” explained Sandra Yeung Racco, Ward 4 Councillor, in a conversation with Shalom Life. ”A person who qualifies for the tax credit would be someone who is 65 years of age and older, who has been assessed as an owner and occupant of a home in the city of Vaughan for more than one year. They would also need to be receiving a monthly guarantee income supplement.”
An additional program that helps senior citizens is a tax deferral program which is in place in Vaughan. “I was very involved in getting the deferral in place in the city,” said Alan Shefman, Ward 5 Councillor. “A couple came to me, both seniors, and they both had a variety of medical problems and had fallen quite far behind in paying taxes. I brought our staff into the meeting and we worked out a plan for them to be able to pay off their taxes over an extended period of time without it bankrupting them or adding to their hardship.”
As both Racco and Shefman explained, Vaughan has traditionally tried to assist seniors. “It’s related to two issues: One is that seniors tend to be on fixed incomes, and secondly seniors contribute to society over many many years and then as they get older things get tougher, so we try to help them out as much as possible,” said Shefman.
Although seniors are a major focus, if you are living in Vaughan and are not a senior, the city might still be able to help you if you require it. “Besides seniors, the most vulnerable groups are those who are low-income and the disabled. Therefore, they too are eligible for the deferral program,” said Racco.
“We do have programs for people other than seniors that aren’t directly tax related,” emphasized Shefman. “For example, we will respond to the needs of parents who want to have their children in some of our recreation programs and can’t quite afford them. So we will provide relief in that way too. Of course we work as a municipality in conjunction with York Region, and provide subsidized housing and a lot of different programs related to disability. We’re trying to be responsible and at the same time be responsive to the needs of people in our society who are having difficulty.”
Racco emphasized that in the bottom line, seniors can be helped in an even bigger way. “In the end, it is
not only up to us to help those who need it, but also up to the region and even the province, since the municipality only gets a very small chunk of taxes. The province gets a much larger portion, and it should look at helping seniors out, for example in the education portion of taxes, since the seniors don’t really have children in school anymore and they have paid their dues when they brought their kids up,” she concluded.