Tax Relief for Non-Profit Organizations

The municipality's Tax Relief for Non-Profit Organizations Program is now CLOSED for applications.

This program can help eligible non-profit organizations reduce the amount of property tax they pay each year. The program opens in September for applications to add a property to the program in 2025. A program guidebook and new application form will be posted on this page when the program opens. The application deadline to add a property to the 2025 program is Friday, January 31, 2025.  

Important notice

A redesign of the tax relief program has been approved by Regional Council and there is now a new Administrative Order 2024-001-ADM. The revised program is in effect as of April 1, 2024 and will apply to those organizations in the program (“renewals”) and to new applicants. 

Redesign summary

Levels of assistance

Tax relief is a form of annual operating grant provided by taxpayers of the municipality. The level of assistance varies by the type of program or service supported by the property in receipt of tax relief. Each of the following “Schedules” has criteria to group properties providing the same or similar service.  

Schedule Name of Schedule Criteria/details
Schedule Name of Schedule Criteria/details
A Charitable organizations providing housing and dedicated services for persons with special needs  The property owner must be a registered Canadian charity and their Articles of Incorporation confirm that the organization primarily provides shelter or programs for free or at nominal cost for people who require specialized residential accommodations or support services. Examples: shelter for the homeless or victims of violence, court-ordered guardianship, short-term or transitional supportive housing including post-incarceration and probationary supervision or residential addiction recovery, food bank or “soup kitchen”, clothing and household items for lower income individuals and families (excludes a thrift store) or a specialized program or service for persons with a physical or cognitive disability or mental illness such as a supportive employment facility.
B Family services, childcare and dedicated youth services  The organization’s Articles of Incorporation confirm that their mandate is exclusively or primarily the provision of programs or services for children, families, youth or seniors. Examples: a licensed nonprofit daycare, preschool, nursery school or early education facility, child or youth welfare organization, a family or parent resource centre, a seniors’ centre or club or a youth centre.
C Cultural, recreational, environmental and community transit organizations  The organization’s Articles of Incorporation confirm that their mandate is primarily the provision of age and culturally appropriate cultural, recreational or environmental programs or services including umbrella organizations serving residents of the municipality or an organization that provides community-based public transit. Examples: visual, performing, literary or media arts organizations (includes crafts), community museum or historical society, sport or recreation association or club, a community centre or hall, environmental education or conservation, animal welfare/animal control (shelter for abandoned or stray pets, wildlife rehabilitation or conservation) or a community public transit organization with a service agreement with the municipality.
D Organizations providing affordable rental housing accommodations  The organization’s Articles of Incorporation confirm that their mandate is to provide affordable rental housing for low to moderate income households. Examples: a housing provider that does not meet the criteria for Schedule A. Includes organizations whose mandate is housing development, advocacy or research. Excludes residential accommodations provided in relation to recreational, institutional or educational facilities.
E Community benefit organizations  The organization provides direct benefits to residents of the municipality that do not meet the criteria of another Schedule. Examples: social or hobby club, a fraternal or sorority organization, service club whose purpose is primarily fundraising, health or medical services, supplementary educational services such as literacy or employment placement or a religious organization. Excludes: international aid, organizations whose sole purpose is fundraising (for example, a public, family, or institutional foundation), organizations representing or promoting commerce, industry, a profession, trade or political party.
F Organizations with vacant property under development  The organization is eligible for tax relief under the criteria of another Schedule, but the land has not been developed, or an existing building is vacant because it is uninhabitable until remediated. Application can be made for tax relief for up to three consecutive years. If during this period the property is occupied or partially occupied, the property will be reassigned to the applicable schedule in the following fiscal year. If after three consecutive years the property is not developed the property will automatically be removed from the program and the owner will have to reapply once an occupancy permit has been issued as applicable. Excludes short-term or partial vacancies due to tenant turnover or partial renovations. The program guidebook provides additional details with respect to vacant property that provides a public benefit and is eligible under another Schedule (e.g., a registered heritage site or a community garden).
G Organizations under the federal Government Rapid Housing Initiatives Program  The organization’s Articles of Incorporation confirm that their mandate is primarily the provision of housing for persons who require housing and ancillary services, is otherwise eligible for tax relief under Schedule A or Schedule D, including a determination of Ratio of Use, and party to and compliant with the reporting requirements of a signed agreement under the Rapid Housing Initiatives Program. A copy of the signed agreement is required. The property will be reassigned at the earlier of either: (1) the expiry of the Rapid Housing Initiatives Program, or (2) the expiry of the initial term of the government funding agreement but nothing prevents Council from otherwise reclassifying the property and reassigning the property to another Schedule. If reassigned to Schedule A the owner must be a registered Canadian charity and provide an audited financial statement. If reassigned to schedule D the organization must provide the number of dwelling units. The level of tax relief is lower (25%) for a property in receipt of a reduced assessed market value under the Nova Scotia Capped Assessment Program.
Appendix 1 Eligible organizations that are tenants recognized under property owner’s tax relief  The organizations listed in Appendix 1 lease a property or a portion of a property, owned by an organization eligible for tax relief. The tenant receives the same level of tax relief as the owner according to the Schedule criteria and the Ratio of Use may apply (proportional occupancy by owner vs tenancy or among multiple tenants).

Formula for calculation of tax relief

  • to moderate the significant differences in property market values across the region the calculation of tax relief begins with a “Benchmark Rate” which is based on the charges included in the 2024 urban residential rate.
    • As proposed, this “rate” will be reviewed after five years, or at Regional Council’s direction, and may change to reflect changes in assessment values, tax rates, and the overall cost of the program
  • In addition to the Benchmark Rate, each Schedule has a percentage discount called an “Exemption Level”
  • An “Exemption Rate” is then applied to the property’s assessed value and the calculation can be computerized to improve efficiency and reduce error
    • the Exemption Rate formula is calculated by multiplying the Benchmark Rate by the Exemption Level
  • all properties in the program will pay a minimum tax per property ($150)
    • as proposed, the minimum tax payable per property will be reviewed every five years or at Regional Council’s direction, to reflect changes in assessment values, tax rates, and the overall cost of the program
  • to help organizations budget with a reasonable degree of predictability all properties in the program will pay a maximum tax per property ($25,000)
    • as proposed, this threshold will be reviewed every five years, or at Regional Council’s direction, to reflect changes in assessment values and tax rates and the overall cost of the program
  • some rates and charges are excluded from tax relief and are listed in the program guide
Schedule Benchmark rate Exemption level Exemption rate Minimum payable per property Maximum payable per property
Schedule Benchmark rate Exemption level Exemption rate Minimum payable per property Maximum payable per property
A $1.1 100% $0.00 $150 $25,000
B $1.1 85% $0.165 $150 $25,000
C $1.1 75% $0.275 $150 $25,000
D $1.1 50% $0.550 $150 Maximum per dwelling unit or $25,000
D capped assessment $1.1 25% $0.825 $150 Maximum per dwelling unit or $25,000
E $1.1 25% $0.825 $150 $25,000
F $1.1 75% $0.275 $150 $25,000
G $1.1 100% $0.00 $150 $25,000
Eligible tenants listed in Appendix 1 receive the same level of tax relief as the property owner.

Program participants will receive an insert with their final 2024 tax bill to help groups transition to the new program.

Changes to Tax Billing Starting in 2025

Starting in 2025, organizations in the tax relief program will receive two tax bills a year. An interim tax bill in the spring and a final tax bill in the fall. This will help with cash-flow.

A Confirmation Form will be included with the final tax bill. The Confirmation Form must be completed and submitted on or before January 31. Failure to submit the Confirmation Form by the due date will result in a 50 per cent reduction in tax relief up to a maximum of $5,000 per property. The penalty will be apportioned between the two bills.

Common Questions

What evaluation criteria are used to add a property to the program?

The organization’s mandate (Articles of Incorporation) and confirmation that their registration is in good standing.

The completeness of the financial information provided and any liabilities, including any debt to the Municipality.

Proof of property ownership and any occupancy of premises other than the owner, including a review of the lease agreement(s) as applicable.

The programs and/or services delivered from the property, including the Ratio of Use.

What does Ratio of Use mean?

Ratio of Use means that portion of the property used by an eligible organization to deliver the program(s) and/or service(s) that are of benefit to residents. The Ratio of Use may be used to assign a property to a Schedule, especially if there are multiple uses or several organizations occupying the same property.

What is excluded from municipal tax relief?

The following charges are to be paid in full and are not included in tax relief: an area rate for a business improvement district, a private road, or community area rate, fire protection rate, charges imposed or fixed under a By-law (including subdivision), fees, fines or interest owned to the municipality. These charges are to be paid in addition to tax payable after relief has been applied.

Land that is in receipt of the Recreational Property Tax (a fixed amount paid per acre) under the Nova Scotia Assessment Act will not receive municipal tax relief for the same property or portion thereof already in receipt of a provincial tax concession.

Why is Schedule A 100 per cent?

The programs and services provided by charities support clients with a limited ability to pay user fees or rent and typically serve lower income or “at risk” individuals and families. Most charities serving this sector are classified under the Alleviation of Poverty category by the Canada Revenue Agency (Charities Directorate).

Why is Schedule G 100 per cent?

The Municipality has entered into funding agreements with the federal government to accelerate the development of housing for lower-income households and rents are “deeply affordable” meaning that rents are a minimum of 40 per cent below average market rents for a similar dwelling unit in the area (CMHC data).

Upon expiry of the Rapid Housing Initiatives Program or the initial term of the financing agreement, the property will be re-assigned to either Schedule A or Schedule D based on the tax relief program’s eligibility criteria and/or Ratio of Use.

Why do properties in Schedule D in receipt of a provincial cap on the property’s assessed market value receive a lower level of tax relief?

A provincial cap on the assessed market value of some residential properties reduces the amount of tax paid by the owner(s) irrespective of the occupant’s household income. This is an advantage relative to other affordable housing providers that are ineligible for an assessment cap because the property is not owner-occupied. The difference in per cent of municipal tax relief addresses an inequity.

Is interest charged if we do not pay the tax bill in full on or before the due date?

Yes, there is no legislated provision to waive interest on arrears. The interest rate is applied to all arrears, including property owned by a registered non-profit or charity

What is the annual Confirmation Form?

Every organization accepted into the program must submit an annual Confirmation Form on or before January 31. This form is to confirm there has been no change in ownership, occupancy of the property or a change in the property use (program or service delivered on-site).

What is the penalty for not submitting the annual Confirmation Form by January 31?

If the Confirmation Form is not received (or post-marked) January 31 there will be a 50 per cent reduction in level of tax relief up to a maximum of $5,000. Default or late submission for three consecutive years will result in removal from the program and the organization will have to apply for reinstatement.

How do I get copies of tax bills or statements?

Request a copy of your tax bill online, here. There are also online self-serve options to assist taxpayers with tax-related inquiries and transactions.

Leased property: Review

Property that is not owned by a registered nonprofit or charity is “under review” and will be the subject of a future report to Regional Council.

Property tax is billed to an owner (not an occupant) so current practice does not conform with the tax system. Although legislation allows the municipality to bill federal and provincial tenants directly this is a risk to the municipality because government property cannot be taken to tax sale for arrears. Legislation does not permit tax billing to tenants who lease municipal or private property. These issues need to be examined in more detail and a recommendation report sent to Council for a decision.

In 2024, leased properties previously accepted into the program have been included in the draft Schedules as an interim measure. If major changes are required a transition plan will be proposed to manage the process.

Assistance with tax payments

The following options are online but can also be requested through the 311 Call Centre or in-person at municipal Customer Service Centres.

Pre-authorized payment plans: Avoid an interest charge by signing up for automated withdrawals to pay taxes in full and on-time. Options:

  1. tax due date option – automatic debit on due date for both the interim and final bill
  2. monthly or bi-weekly automatic withdrawals.  

To qualify for this option taxes must be up to date and are not paid through a mortgage. Ideally, the tax account starts with a $0 balance and the owner begins payments in May or November to build sufficient credit to pay the bill in full and on time.

Payment Plans for Arrears:  Avoid tax sale proceedings by arranging a payment plan. Arrears plus interest can be paid in installments over a term of up to two years. Call 311 or email:

Self-serve options

Order copy of tax bill, an account statement, refunds and payment inquiries:

Request a copy of a tax bill, property tax statement, request to move a payment from one property tax account to another or request a refund on a tax overpayment. A charge of $15 will apply to each request.

Change in authorized contact: Request a change to an authorized contact tax account contact:

Change of mailing address: Call 311 or email

Sign up for emailed bills and text notifications: Overdue notices, bills by email, notifications about charges (Solar City Program, local improvement charges, By-law infraction, false alarm) or a notification before a pre-authorized payment is taken from your bank account:

Your organization will need to provide a PIN number and a customer number – both are shown on the latest tax bill. If you cannot locate the bill, contact 311 to obtain a PIN number.

Calendar of key dates

Dates Description
Dates Description
September Program opens for applications requesting the addition of a property to the program in the following fiscal year (municipality's fiscal year is April 1 to March 31)
January 31 Deadline for applications to apply to add a property
January 31 Deadline to submit the annual confirmation form to continue tax relief and avoid a reduction in level of tax relief
February Renewals calculated and bill sent including any reduction in tax relief for not submitting the annual confirmation form by January 31. The penalty is a 50% reduction in tax relief up to a maximum of $5,000 and applies per property across all Schedules. The deduction will be split between the interim and final tax bills
March First tax bill is mailed
April 30 Payment due - interest (15%) will be applied to late payments
September Second tax bill is mailed
October 31 Payment due - interest (15%) will be applied to late payments