B.C. expanding speculation tax to Kamloops, Parksville, 11 other municipalities

Click to play video: 'Speculation tax expanded to more B.C. communities'
Speculation tax expanded to more B.C. communities
The B.C. government is making 13 more communities subject to the Speculation Tax starting January 2025. Richard Zussman reports – Nov 22, 2023

The B.C. government is expanding the province’s Speculation and Vacancy Tax to include 13 new municipalities.

The tax will now apply to empty homes in Vernon, Coldstream, Penticton, Summerland, Lake Country, Peachland, Courtney, Comox, Cumberland, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Salmon Arm and Kamloops.

The tax is already in place across Metro Vancouver, the Capital Regional District and Kelowna.

Click to play video: 'B.C. finance minister announces expansion of speculation and vacancy tax'
B.C. finance minister announces expansion of speculation and vacancy tax

“There is a housing crisis across the country and it is creating economic challenges, including people feeling pushed out of their communities and labour shortages,” Finance Minister Katrine Conroy said in a statement.

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“With so many people struggling to find secure housing, we have to keep taking action – we can’t afford to pull back. The speculation tax is one of the ways we can help increase affordable housing options for people and communities.”

The province continues to exempt some areas, including Whistler, Tofino, the Sunshine Coast and the Gulf Islands.

Click to play video: 'NDP government introduces speculation tax legislation'
NDP government introduces speculation tax legislation

An independent review released in 2022 found that the tax had helped deliver more than 20,000 homes in Metro Vancouver.

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The report recommended government consider phasing in an expansion of the speculation tax to additional communities.

Residential property owners in the new communities will need to submit a declaration in January 2025 for the first time, based on how they used their property in 2024.

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Home owners are exempt from the tax if they are living in the home as a primary residence or renting the home out to long-term tenants. There are also special health-related exemptions.

Delaying the implementation of the new policy to 2025 gives owners in the new areas time to decide how to meet exemption requirements before it takes effect.

Click to play video: 'Province expands speculation and vacancy tax to include more B.C. municipalities'
Province expands speculation and vacancy tax to include more B.C. municipalities

More than 99 per cent of people living in B.C. are exempt from paying the tax, the province says.

“There’s something wrong when people are buying up investment homes and keeping them empty while others are living in vehicles and can’t find housing,” Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon said.

“Homes are meant to be lived in by people in our communities, not used for speculation.”

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With the addition of these 13 communities, the tax will apply to a total of 59 communities.

Since 2018, the province has raised more than $313 million through the tax, which is directed to affordable housing in regional districts where the Speculation and Vacancy Tax is applied.

“Like other communities across B.C., we are facing a housing crisis in North Cowichan with home prices increasingly out of reach for many working families and a rental vacancy rate close to zero per cent,” North Cowichan mayor Rob Douglas said.

Click to play video: 'Richmond man says he’s being unfairly charged B.C. speculation tax'
Richmond man says he’s being unfairly charged B.C. speculation tax

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