We are in year four of the province’s Speculation and Vacancy Tax. Has the annual declaration form become routine for you? By now you should have had the form delivered. All homeowners must declare their status by March 31. If you have declared in previous years, you still have to declare again this year, even if there is no change to your information.
Money, money, money
The program shows 99.9 percent of British Columbians are exempt from the tax. In the 2020 tax year (third year of the program) $81 million of revenue was generated, with 86% of the revenue coming from foreign owners, satellite families, Canadians living outside BC, and “other” non-BC resident owners. The government had originally estimated it would receive $185 million for that period.
The speculation and vacancy tax rate varies depending on the owner’s tax residency. In addition, the tax rate varies based on whether the owner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, or a satellite family.
For 2019 and subsequent years, the tax rate is:
- 2% for foreign owners and satellite families
- 0.5% for Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada who are not members of a satellite family
The speculation and vacancy tax applies based on ownership as of December 31 each year.
B.C. owners are eligible for a tax credit of up to $2,000 on secondary properties to offset their tax payable. The credit is limited to $2,000 per owner and $2,000 per property (in the case of multiple owners) per year.
If a residential property has multiple owners, tax is divided among each owner based on their ownership share. For example, if you and your spouse are equal owners of a residential property in a taxable region, you’ll each owe tax on 50% of the home’s assessed value.
Exemptions are based on how each person uses each residential property. If you’re the co-owner of a residential property in a taxable region and are exempt, but the other owner isn’t exempt, the other owner will have to pay tax based on their percentage ownership of the residential property as listed with the Land Title Office.
All owners on title of a property must complete the declaration in order to claim an exemption or to determine eligibility for a tax credit. Owners are exempt from the tax if it is their principal residence, they rent it at least six months of the year, they are disabled, the property was just inherited, it’s valued at less than $150,000, or a person was away and it was vacant due to medical reasons, residential care, work or spousal separation.
How to declare
The fastest and easiest way to declare is online. If you can’t declare online, you can declare over the phone. Call 1-833-554-2323 toll-free and they will help you complete the declaration. Translation is also available at the above number. If you have not received your letter, the province asks you to also call the number above.
What you need
- the speculation and vacancy tax declaration letter, which includes:
- Your Letter ID, Declaration Code and other information you need to declare
- A list of all the residential properties you own in the designated taxable regions
- your social insurance number (SIN)
- your date of birth
Ooops I forgot
If you miss the deadline or forgot to declare by March 31 you will receive a tax notice charging you the tax at the maximum tax rate. However, all is not lost! You can still complete your declaration to claim an exemption even after you’ve received a tax notice.
Speculation and vacancy tax letters were mailed to North Vancouver late January – early February in 2022.
- Mar 31, 2022 – declaration due
- Apr-May 2022 – most tax notices mailed
- Jul 4, 2022 – the first business day of July tax payments are due