British Columbians in urban areas will have to apply for an exemption to the province's new Speculation and Vacancy Tax — or else they'll automatically pay by default.
Declaration notices will be sent by mid-February to homeowners in the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria, Kelowna and Nanaimo in the coming weeks. They'll have until March 31 to fill out the exemption form. You can complete your declaration online as soon as you receive your declaration letter. You need the Letter ID and Declaration Code from your letter before you start.
The speculation tax was introduced to prevent housing speculation in B.C.'s overheated real estate market and help turn vacant properties into rentals. The tax targets vacant or underutilized properties, and homeowners who live at their properties — or rent them out — will be exempt.
In a release, the Ministry of Finance said more than 99 per cent of British Columbians will be exempt. However, owners still must register to claim their exemption.
It means that, of the 1.6 million households that will receive the letter, only about 32,000 homes will be taxed, according to ministry estimates.
For 2018, the tax rate is 0.5 per cent of the property's assessed value for all properties subject to the tax. For 2019 and subsequent years, the tax rate is two per cent for foreign owners and satellite families, and 0.5 per cent for Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada who are not members of a satellite family. Satellite families are those families where the majority of the combined income is earned outside of Canada.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this issue please feel free to reach out to me and I will be happy to assist in any way I can.