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.

Just Posted

Photos from Kelowna’s 39th annual Terry Fox Run

Residents of Kelowna took on cancer in the rain and had a blast.

Kelowna classroom where child allegedly overdosed re-opens after cleaning

An 8-year-old was unresponsive and unable to walk after ingesting an unknown substance at school.

Rockets make cuts to Memorial Cup roster

The Kelowna Rockets re-assigned three players to their respective farm-affiliates on Sunday.

Rockets lose to Blazers in nail-biting shootout

The Rockets came back to tie the game 2-2, but would ultimately lose in a nine-round shootout.

Okanagan brothers recognized with medals of bravery for saving four from drowning in 2013

The two brothers saved four from drowning after they were swept into the rough waters of Wood Lake.

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Video: Rain doesn’t deter Terry Fox runners in Salmon Arm

Dozens showed up to continue the Canadian icon’s marathon of hope.

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Road block was costly legal battle for Summerland

Resolving Garnet Valley dispute took six years

Most Read