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.

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

Just Posted

What happens in the Cowichan Valley when an earthquake strikes

When an earthquake does happen, will the Cowichan Valley be ready for it?

Winter storm warning now in effect for Island’s east coast

Environment Canada issues new weather warning late Wednesday afternoon

What will finally be enough to wake up the world to climate change?

How many photos and videos of disasters will it take before we stop wasting time?

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Royal deal clears way for Harry, Meghan part-time Canada move: experts

Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

Most Read