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.

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

Just Posted

Lexi Bainas column: Singers, actors needed for thre exciting upcoming productions

‘The Winter’s Tale’, ‘Little Women’, and Mass for St. Cecilia are all calling: are you up for them?

Robert Barron column: Winter can be hard, but it brings back good memories

I would carefully poke the handle of the shovel through the snow until it bumped into a solid object

Andrea Rondeau column: What are your time capsule must-haves?

It would also be fun to include some pop culture mementos that represent our time.

Climbers compete for Choc and Chalk

Annual competition attracts more than 100

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read