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.

Just Posted

Cycle tour for African Grandmothers coming through the Comox Valley

On Sept. 6, 35 women, aged between 56 and 75, will be… Continue reading

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Gallery accepting applications for Youth Media Project

The Comox Valley Art Gallery is accepting applications for the Youth Media… Continue reading

Ribfest returning to the Comox Valley

It’s fast approaching—the fifth annual Comox Valley Ribfest takes place from Friday,… Continue reading

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

PHOTOS: Cumberland Wild embraces diverse musical talents

Day 1 of the two-day music festival took place Saturday

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read