Greens slam NDP over failure to eliminate real estate tax loophole

BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver targeted the NDP in Victoria over a perceived lack of action on real estate tax loopholes. Chad Hipolito/CP

B.C.’s housing minister took a grilling in question period on Tuesday over a perceived loophole in B.C.’s real estate tax laws.

At issue, bare trusts: corporations formed specifically to own a property. When the owner wants to sell, they sell the company, not the property.

Because the name on the land title never changes, no property transfer tax is owed.

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On Tuesday, Green Leader Andrew Weaver took Housing Minister Selina Robinson to task over what he called a lack of action from the NDP.

“What’s the hold up? You’ve had many years in opposition identifying problems, you’ve had many years to identify solutions,” Weaver asked.

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“The Attorney General has identified solutions, said he would do it. It’s a quick fix. Why haven’t you done it?”

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In response, Robinson failed to give a timeline for when the tax would be abolished, focusing instead on what the NDP has done on the housing file.

“We also announced 1,700 units of affordable housing throughout the province, that’s in ten weeks. Mr. Speaker just think what we are going to get done in four and a half years,” she said.

A provincial housing review is currently underway, which will is looking at trusts and other property tax processes.

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