The B.C. provincial government has introduced a Speculation and Vacancy Tax. If you have been following the news, you may have heard of this tax, but are unsure of what it exactly is and how it applies to you. If you own a residential property in BC, it is important to understand what this Speculation and Vacancy Tax exactly is.
The B.C. government describes the tax as:
… “a key measure in tackling the housing crisis in major urban centres in British Columbia, where home prices and rents have skyrocketed out of reach for many British Columbians.”
This tax has been introduced as an initiative to tackle the housing crisis in BC and to make it more affordable for people who live and work in BC. According to the BC Government, over 99% of British Columbians are estimated to be exempt from the tax.
So what does this mean for you?
If you are a residential property owner, you will receive mail from the Government in mid-late February with instructions on how to proceed with the Speculation and Vacancy Tax declaration. The Speculation and Vacancy Tax declaration is due by March 31, 2019. If you own a home in the City of Vancouver, this tax and declaration is distinct from the empty homes tax.
This process is very simple and should take no longer than 5 minutes online. Be prepared by having your SIN number handy along with your letter that states the Letter ID and Declaration Code. If there is more than one owner listed on the residential property, each individual who receives the mail must still complete the declaration. That could mean completing two declarations for the same household- this is normal and to be completed.
You can declare your status by logging into https://www.etax.gov.bc.ca/SVT/_/ and following the steps. After you answer all the questions, the website will declare if you are exempt or not exempt from the tax.
If you are exempt and you have completed the exemption by March 31, 2019, there is nothing more for you to do.
If you are not exempt, the tax rate will vary depending on a variety of factors including taxable regions as indicated on the BC Government website. Please refer to the link below to see how the tax will be applied if you are not exempt.
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