Declaration period begins for second year of landmark tax
People who own homes in communities where the speculation and vacancy tax applies will soon receive a declaration package in the mail.
The declaration must be completed by March 31, 2020.
“Based on the first successful year of the speculation and vacancy tax, we expect more than 99% of British Columbians to be exempt from the tax, while speculators, foreign owners and people who leave their home vacant will continue to pay as intended,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “The revenue generated will help create affordable housing solutions for the people who live and work where this tax applies.”
Declaration packages will arrive in mailboxes between Jan. 24 and Feb. 21, 2020.
Residential property owners can complete their declaration as soon as they receive their package, which will include an informational brochure and letter. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete. The quickest way is online: gov.bc.ca/spectax
All owners on the title, including spouses and relatives, must complete a declaration in order 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, 2020. In addition to previous exemptions, military families and those with water-access-only properties will be exempt.
“Some would have us give tax breaks to speculators and return to out-of-control housing price increases, but we’re committed to cracking down on speculation and increasing affordable housing options,” James said. “We’re beginning to see moderation in the housing market, and over the past year we’ve seen more rental condos being put on the market and an increase in purpose-built rentals. These are encouraging signs for making housing more affordable for families in B.C.”
According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s 2019 rental report, the number of apartments in the long-term rental stock in Metro Vancouver in 2019 increased by nearly 19% from 2018 – the most significant annual increase in more than a decade. The report further states that policies introduced at the government level are contributing to the number of condos available in the long-term rental stock, with BC Housing data confirming that purpose-built rentals represented nearly 30% of units registered in 2019, compared to 16.4% in 2018.
If people have questions or need help completing their declaration over the phone, they can call: 1 833 554-2323 (toll-free Canada/U.S.) or 1 604 660-2421 (international), Monday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Service is available in multiple languages.
To learn more about the speculation and vacancy tax and exemptions, visit: gov.bc.ca/spectax
To learn more about government’s 30-point plan for housing affordability, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/
A backgrounder follows.
For a French translation, visit: http://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Declaration_Begins_SVT_French.pdf
For a Punjabi translation, visit: http://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Declaration_Begins_SVT_Traditional_Punjabi.pdf
For a Traditional Chinese translation, visit: http://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Declaration_Begins_SVT_Traditional_Chinese.pdf
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