B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver announce rate reduction for Canadian citizens paying new property tax on homes empty six months of the year or more. B.C. legislature, Sept. 9, 2018. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Strata rental bans escape B.C. speculation tax through 2021, Carole James says

Vacant home tax won’t apply to cabins accessible only by water

The B.C. government is changing exemptions to its speculation and empty home tax in urban areas, as it prepares to quadruple the rate charged for foreign owners and “satellite families” who don’t pay Canadian income tax.

Finance Minister Carole James announced Tuesday that the speculation tax exemption for strata properties where rentals are banned will end on Dec. 31, 2021. That date is after the next scheduled B.C. election, and the B.C. Liberal opposition has opposed the NDP speculation tax as a method to force property owners to rent out homes that are vacant six months or more per year.

Also to be phased out at the end of 2021 is an exemption for strata accommodation properties, or strata hotels, units kept in some condo buildings for tenants to rent out to visitors. An exemption for vacant land ends after this year, meaning it won’t apply to property tax bills until 2021.

The speculation tax was introduced in 2018, with both the rates and the areas of application altered after protests from owners and the B.C. Green Party. For Canadian owners, it now applies at an annual rate of 0.5 per cent of the assessed value of the property every year on secondary homes. For the 2019 assessment year, the tax rises to 2.0 per cent for foreign owners and satellite families, payable on 2020 property taxes.

RELATED: Seniors with unrentable Bellcarra cabins protest tax

RELATED: Greens force lower speculation tax rate for Canadians

After rural areas including the Gulf Islands and parts of Vancouver Island were exempted, the tax now applies in the designated cities of Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Nanaimo, Lantzville, Metro Vancouver and the Capital Regional District around Victoria.

James said Tuesday the tax is working as expected, applying mainly to foreign owners who buy properties as investments in a rising urban real estate market. The province is also increasing the identification required of corporations, trusts, partnerships and foreign owners, to close loopholes that would allow “beneficial owners” of properties to avoid the tax.

“I recognize that there are a variety of views on the speculation and vacancy tax,” James said. “There are those who oppose the tax and others who want to implement additional tax.”


@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

Big Bar Landslide saw long awaited blasting this week

Pressure has been on senior governments working with First Nations to remove blockage for months

COLUMN: Trying to look forward while looking back

Reader suggests re-running a 2015 Times column after recent racism towards Indigenous people

Two prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase across Fraser Valley

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Chilliwack physiotherapist charged with sexual assault

Mounties urging other potential victims to make contact

Former employee of Chilliwack senior care home calls working there ‘a horror show’

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

‘A bag full of garbage every 15 metres’: Surrey industrial area filled with trash

Local workers looking to recruit business, raise funds to help dispose of litter

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Brand new Tesla crashes into Surrey store front, mounts gas line

Driver was heading to the Autoplan store, straight off the lot

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

Mugging with airsoft gun results in Langley school lockdown

Police found the weapon and a stolen phone later

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Most Read