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

Canadian Conservation Corp offers free nine-month adventure

Adventure program targets those aged 18 to 30

Fairway Gorge Paddle Club outrigger relay race raises money for men’s health

Annual Movember event returns, all proceeds will go to B.C. Cancer and Island Prostate Centre

Halloween roundup: Bonfires, fireworks and haunted houses

Events in Victoria, Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Saanich, Saanich Peninsula and Sooke

Clear skies and wind ahead for Tuesday

Plus a look ahead at the week

City of Victoria considers proposed senior rental development

The Mount St. Angela’s complex aims to include affordable rental units

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Union says Western Forest Products refuses to budge from ‘unreasonable concessions’

According to a press release, both parties met on Oct. 16, 18, 19, and 20.

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

App designed to help cut waste and grocery bills

Food security advocates say addressing poverty is ultimate key

Most Read