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, October 2018. (Black Press files)

12,000 property owners paying B.C. speculation tax so far

Mostly foreign owners, ‘satellite families,’ high-end properties

The B.C. government estimates it is owed $115 million for the first year of its speculation and vacancy tax on homes in urban areas.

As of July 4, there were 12,029 property owners paying the additional property tax, the finance ministry reported Thursday. Of those, 4,585 are foreign owners and 3,241 are what the province calls “satellite families” who live in B.C. while the main income earner is a foreign resident.

There are 2,410 B.C. residents currently assessed for the tax, for secondary homes in the designated cities of Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Nanaimo, Lantzville, Metro Vancouver and the Capital Regional District around Victoria.

The province sent out 1.6 million tax notices to property owners in affected cities early this year, requiring every owner listed on title to register and either claim an exemption or pay the tax. About 23,000 registrations are still not accounted for, including owners who may be deceased or out of the country.

The figures released Thursday are for 2018, where the tax was due by July 2, 2019. All taxes collected for the first year are assessed at 0.5 per cent of property value, but foreign owners will soon pay four times that much unless they can find an exemption.

Foreign owners and satellite families pay the highest rate this year, two per cent of property value. The rate for B.C. residents who are not considered satellite families and Canadians living outside B.C. is 0.5 per cent, after the B.C. Green Party refused to support charging a higher rate to people from Alberta and other provinces who have vacation properties in B.C.

RELATED: B.C. Liberal leader vows to scrap speculation tax

RELATED: Speculation tax holdouts should talk to city hall: James

The finance ministry says the first-year revenue is higher than expected, partly because the tax is being paid on higher-value properties. The average assessed value of properties subject to the tax for 2018-19 is $1.62 million, while the average value for the cities where it applies is $1.11 million.

The provincial speculation tax is in addition to the empty homes tax assessed by the City of Vancouver. The B.C. version sparked a political battle, first over rural areas with vacation properties that were originally included, and then over the rate and requirement to occupy or rent out properties at least six months of the year to be exempt.

Finance Minister Carole James promised to meet with mayors of the affected communities this summer to discuss hardship cases and other exemptions. Those meetings are now scheduled to take place in September.

@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

All Safe Surrey Coalition council members must ‘step up’ over ‘bad taste’ tweets, rivals say

Slate’s posts on social media in ‘bad taste,’ councillor says

After 40 years on the job, White Rock’s fire chief retires

From flood to fire, Phil Lemire has been at the forefront whenever disaster struck

Surrey sports groups grapple with refunds, registration, restrictions and more

‘Our biggest problem is going to be retraining the public because they can’t be there’

Low-cost bicycle repair shop opens in Cloverdale

Cloverdale Community Cycles starts up in church parking lot

First degree murder charge laid in South Surrey shooting death

Wayne Duncan, 46, was killed on Sept. 6, 2019

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

Two more COVID-19 cases reported by Langley long term care facility

One resident, one staffer have tested positive for the coronavirus

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Suspect sought in alleged assault, hate crime on Metro Vancouver bus: transit police

The woman then allegedly punched the teenager in the head multiple times

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Most Read