What you need to know about the Speculation & Vacancy Tax
You should have received a notice from the BC Government about the new Speculation & Vacancy Tax. If your property is located in any area affected by the tax then you need to know the following. The speculation and vacancy tax is distinct from the empty homes tax in the City of Vancouver, so please do not confuse the two.
Which areas of BC are affected by the tax?
• Municipalities within the Capital Regional District, on Vancouver Island, excluding Salt Spring Island, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, and the Southern Gulf Islands
• Municipalities within the Metro Vancouver Regional District, excluding Bowen Island, the Village of Lions Bay and Electoral Area A, but including UBC and the University Endowment Lands
• The City of Abbotsford
• The District of Mission
• The City of Chilliwack
• The City of Kelowna
• The City of West Kelowna
• The City of Nanaimo
• The District of Lantzville
What do I need to do?
All residential property owners in the regions above must complete an annual declaration for the speculation and vacancy tax. Each owner of the property must complete a declaration, if there are multiple owners of the property, including spouses. This is because the tax, if applicable, will be charged to each owner on your income tax. Although over 99% of all British Columbians will be exempt from the tax, each owner must ‘opt-out’ of having to pay the tax via the declaration. Even if you believe the tax will NOT apply to you, you need to complete the declaration by the deadline of MARCH 31, 2019; and again every year thereafter.
If you don’t complete your declaration, you’ll receive a tax notice charging you the tax at the maximum tax rate.
THIS IS IMPORTANT: The Declaration Letter
Each property owner, including each spouse if both are listed on the property title, will receive a separate declaration letter, and all owners must complete the declaration separately.
For example, if Bob and Mary Smith are each listed on title, then Bob and Mary will each receive a unique letter, and each will have to complete the declaration.
Contact the BC Government if you haven’t received a declaration letter by late February.
Your declaration letter will list all the residential properties you own in the taxable regions, and will tell you how to declare, and claim, any exemptions.
Your individual letter includes two unique identification numbers: a declaration code and a letter ID. These numbers match you to your property. You’ll need these numbers to complete your individual declaration. You’ll also need your social insurance number to verify your identity.
You may declare online or by phone. Language translation services are available over the phone.
If you want more information about the tax or how to complete the declaration you can go to the government’s website at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/property-taxes/speculation-and-vacancy-tax
Or, you can call the government. Agents are available from 8:00am to 8:00pm, 7 days a week.
Toll Free in Canada:
1 833 554-2323
Outside North America:
1 604 660-242