The March 31st deadline to file your Speculation and Vacancy Tax Declaration is looming!

This is the first year homeowners are required to fill out the Speculation and Vacancy Tax Declaration (not to be confused with the Vancouver Empty Home Tax - that’s the municipal tax) and if you’re a homeowner in one of the regions where the tax applies, chances are you’ve already found one in your mailbox.

The BC government is using this tax as one of the ways to address the housing crisis in our provinces’ urban centres by incentivizing homeowners with secondary residences sitting vacant or being used for short-term rentals, to put those homes into the rental market or face paying a hefty tax if they don’t.

The tax applies in the following regions:

  • Municipalities within the Capital Regional District, but NOT Salt Spring Island, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, and the Southern Gulf Islands.
  • Nanaimo
  • Metro Vancouver municipalities, except Bowen Island and the Village of Lions Bay.
  • Abbotsford
  • Mission
  • Chilliwack
  • Kelowna
  • West Kelowna
  • District of Lantzville

Wondering if the tax applies to you?

You will be exempt from paying this tax if:

  • The property is your primary residence (except Satellite families - being those families with high household incomes that don’t primarily pay their taxes in BC)
  • Rental properties - if they are rented at least 6 months cumulatively during a calendar year, but only those rentals that are longer than a month count (IE. AirBnB rentals that are less than a month don’t count towards your exemption)
  • Some special circumstances will qualify you for an exemption. IE temporarily absent for work, medical or hospital care
  • Properties valued under $400k receive a tax credit, so only those properties with an assessed value over $400K will have to pay tax if the owner doesn’t qualify for an exemption.

It is estimated that over 99% of BC owners will fall under one of the above exemptions. The tax is really targeted at getting empty homes into the rental market and generating revenue by targeting foreign and domestic speculators who own property in BC, but who don’t pay income tax here.

If you are an owner of residential property in one of the designated taxable regions of BC listed above you must register your property and complete an annual declaration and submit it no later than March 31st. This can be done either by phone 1 (833) 554-2323 or online here!

Wondering if the Speculation and Vacancy Tax might affect you? Our real estate lawyers are always happy to answer any questions you have!

Elizabeth Mah

Lawyer-Founder, Paperclip Law