Speculation tax: 2 days left for B.C. homeowners to apply for exemptions
Condos and apartment buildings are seen in downtown Vancouver, B.C., on Feb.2, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
CTV News Vancouver
Published Friday, March 29, 2019 4:34PM PDT
With just two days until the deadline, some British Columbians have yet to submit their speculation and vacancy tax exemptions, the province said.
On Friday, B.C.'s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing said more than 90 per cent of the declarations have been made.
The tax is designed to help control housing prices in urban areas and targets speculators who own residences in the province but don't pay taxes to the B.C. government.
The levy is also intended is to encourage owners to find long-term renters, rather than keeping the properties empty as they wait for the property value to increase.
How to apply for exemption
The province has said more than 99 per cent of B.C. homeowners will be exempt from paying, but they must declare their exemption each year.
Residential property owners must register their property by phone or online by the end of March. All information, including how to register, were be outlined in letters the province mailed out between Jan. 21 and mid-February.
For properties with more than one owner, each owner must submit their own declaration, even if the owners are related or spouses.
Anyone who hasn't received a declaration letter by late February was asked to call the dedicated speculation and vacancy tax hotline at 1-833-554-2323.
The province reminds Vancouver residents that the B.C. speculation and vacancy tax is separate from the city's own empty homes tax.
How much is the tax?
Those who don't apply for an exemption or have their application rejected will have to pay 0.5 per cent of their property's assessed value.
Starting in 2020, however, that rate will vary depending on an owner's tax residency and citizenship.
Foreign owners and satellite families - families who earn the majority of their income outside of B.C. and pay little or no income tax in the province - will pay the highest rates (2 per cent), the province said in a statement online.
Residents of B.C., Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are not part of satellite families will continue to pay 0.5 per cent.
For properties with multiple owners, the rate will be split based on the share each person owns.
Owners who live in B.C. and are not exempt are eligible for a tax credit of up to $2,000 on secondary properties.
Are some homeowners 'unfairly' targeted?
The speculation and vacancy tax has not been without controversy.
Its introduction sparked outcry from property owners in different parts of the province, including those in Belcarra, many of whom own cabins used by families on weekends and holidays, but are otherwise empty.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Bhinder Sajan and Kendra Mangione