Quick & Easy Guide to The BC Speculation & Vacancy Tax

vacancy tax

Quick & Easy Guide to The BC Speculation & Vacancy Tax

What Is The BC Speculation & Vacancy Tax?

The tax is a part of the government’s plan to tackle the housing crisis in major urban centres in BC.

The annual tax is designed to:

- Target foreign and domestic buyers who own residences but don’t pay taxes here

- Turn empty homes into good housing

- Raise revenue to support affordable housing


What Places In BC Does The Tax Apply To?

Taxable regions include:

- Municipalities within the Capital Regional District (excluding Salt Spring Island, Juan de Fuca & the Southern Golf Islands)

- Municipalities within Metro Vancouver Regional District (excluding Bowen Island, the Village of Lion’s Bay, Electoral Area A but including UBC and the University Endowment Lands)

- Abbotsford

- Mission

- Chilliwack

- Kelowna

- West Kelowna

- Nanaimo

- Lantzville


How Do I Know If My Property Is Included?

You will receive a letter in the mail from the BC government. The letter will be sent to your mailing address on file with BC Assessment by mid-February.

If you own a property, you will need to complete a declaration even if you won’t be required to pay the tax.


Do I Have To Pay The Tax?

Owners are exempt if the property:

- Is their principal residence

- They rent it at least 6 months of the year (only three months required for 2018)

- They are disabled

- The property was inherited

- It’s valued under $150,000

- A person was away and vacant due to medical reasons, residential care, work or spousal separation


How Do I Exempt Myself

To claim your exemption, you must register your property by March 31st, 2019 by phone or online.

Note: If your property has more than one owner, even if the other owner is your spouse, a separate declaration must be made for each owner.


How Will The Tax Be Charged If You’re Not Exempt?

The tax rate varies depending on the owner’s tax residency and whether the owner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada or a member of a satellite family.

If you do not complete the declaration for exemption by March 31st then you will receive a tax notice in April with payment due July 2nd, 2019.


For more information, visit the Government of BC website.