B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver announce rate reduction for Canadian citizens paying speculation and vacancy tax, Sept. 9, 2018. (Black Press files)

B.C. speculation tax going up for non-Canadian property owners

Finance minister to decide soon if strata rent bans exempted

The B.C. government’s speculation and vacancy tax is moving into full effect this year, with $185 million expected to be collected for 2019 as the rate increases for foreign owners in urban areas.

Finance Minister Carole James met with mayors in the effected regions Thursday, to hear their concerns about the impact of the tax on part-time residents and home construction. Going into the meeting, James said the data collected so far indicate that the tax is working as intended, contributing to a softening of home prices in Metro Vancouver and other urban regions.

Ministry data released Thursday do not indicate if the tax has had any effect on rental vacancy rates, the main objective of applying it.

Ministry data show 5,400 vacant homes are exempted because strata councils don’t allow rentals in the building. James said meetings with the mayors will determine if that exemption continues for 2020 and beyond, or if the tax applies no-rent condos starting next year.

The tax applies to secondary homes vacant for six months of the year or more in the designated cities of Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Nanaimo, Lantzville, Metro Vancouver and the Capital Regional District around Victoria.

The B.C. government expects to collect most tax revenue from foreign owners and what the province calls “satellite families” who live in B.C. while the main income earner is a foreign resident. Applied to assessed value each calendar year, the tax started at 0.5 per cent of value for 2018, and goes up to two per cent for 2019.

RELATED: B.C. Liberal leader vows to scrap speculation tax

RELATED: Speculation tax targets retirees unfairly, U.S. couple says

There are about 12,000 property owners required to pay or rent out their vacant home, with 4,600 of them foreign owners and 3,060 classified as satellite families.

More than 98 per cent of B.C. residents are exempt from the tax, mostly because their principal residence is their only home in B.C. Other vacant homes are exempted because the property is recently acquired or inherited, under construction or renovation, or are rented out at least six months of the year.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock cadets nab medals at Vernon competition

Thirteen members of 907 Squadron compete at regional meet

Girls, women try their hand at marine rescue in Surrey

Achieve Anything Foundation, RCMSAR Crescent Beach host ‘Operation: This IS You! Saving Lives at Sea’

Surrey boy living with congenital heart disease to speak at local Tedx event

Mason Vander Ploeg will be speaking on saving the oceans

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Winds up to 70 km/hr expected across Metro Vancouver

Winds are expected to subside overnight

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Fraser Health warns some schools of possible COVID-19 exposure

A sixth COVID-19 patient is a woman in her 30s in the Fraser Health region who recently returned from Iran

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

VIDEO: Giants winning streak ends at 11 after a 2-1 setback Saturday in Everett

Run of wins matched their longest ever regular season winning streak

Most Read