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)

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

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

(Big White Ski Resort)
28 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

More than 200 cases have been identified since the cluster was announced

Community mental health workers are in high demand, and a new program at Selkirk College will provide opportunities in this field. File Photo
Selkirk College to train community mental health workers

Twelve students will complete two courses enabling them to work in health and human services

Dr. Cori Lausen, bat specialist, has questions about logging in an unusual bat habitat near Beasley. Photo: Submitted
Kaslo biologist questions logging at unique West Kootenay bat site

Dr. Cori Lausen, a bat specialist, studies a population of bats above Beasley

Robbie Campbell lost his livelihood when the pandemic shut down Shambhala Music Festival. Instead, he spent part of 2020 working on a children’s book called Tulip that is now available. Photo: Submitted
In a lousy year, a Kootenay man was saved by a pink T-rex

Robbie Campbell became a children’s author after the pandemic cost him his livelihood

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Vancouver Island paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
B.C. photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Most Read