Who’s paying the B.C. Speculation and Vacancy Tax?

Province announces most homeowners’ declarations have been filed – but there’s still time for latecomers

Glacier Media Real Estate
May 17, 2019

speculation tax declaration form letter

Most of the Speculation and Vacancy Tax declarations have been received from homeowners in the affected areas, according to a statement from the provincial government issued May 17.

The Ministry of Finance announced that, as predicted, more than 99 per cent of British Columbian homeowners who have filed a declaration are exempt from the tax.

Of the property owners who will have pay the tax, the ministry said that more than 80 per cent are either foreign owners, satellite families or Canadians who live outside of B.C.

That means just under 20 per cent of speculation tax payers will be British Columbian residents who own second homes or recreational properties in affected areas of the province, and keep them mostly vacant.

All homeowners in the affected areas are mandated to file a declaration, with co-owners of homes such as spouses each required to fill in and return their own declaration form.

The affected areas are Greater Victoria, Nanaimo, Lantzville, Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Kelowna and West Kelowna.

For those whole will have to pay the annual tax, it amounts to 0.5 per cent of the property’s assessed value for Canadian-resident owners of B.C. property, and two per cent for overseas owners.

The deadline for the form was March 31, but the government is showing considerable leniency to latecomers.

The ministry said in the statement, “Owners who do not complete a declaration will receive a tax notice of assessment before the end of May reminding them of their requirement to complete a declaration. A declaration must be completed to claim an exemption or to determine eligibility for a tax credit. If owners are not exempt, they must pay their assessed amount by July 2, 2019.”

More information can be found at gov.bc.ca/spectax.

Joannah Connolly is editorial director of Glacier Media Real Estate, Glacier Media's real estate division. Joannah writes and curates real estate news for Glacier Media's local newspaper websites, including the Vancouver Courier, Times Colonist, Prince George Citizen, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Tri-City News and others. She also writes and oversees editorial content in Real Estate Weekly Homes, West Coast Condos & Homes, Western Investor and Glacier's special real estate publications. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 23 years of journalism and editing experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture, healthcare and business media. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, has moderated and spoken on various industry panels, and spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist talk radio show on Vancouver's Roundhouse Radio.
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