January 29, 2018 4:42 pm
Updated: January 29, 2018 9:29 pm

11% of Vancouver homeowners haven’t filed empty home tax declaration as deadline looms

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Patrice Impey urge Vancouver homeowners to submit their empty home tax declarations.

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The City of Vancouver says 11 per cent of homeowners have yet to submit their empty homes tax declarations despite the looming Feb. 2 deadline.

Failure to submit will result in an automatic assumption that the home is vacant and will be subject to the tax, which is one per cent of the assessed home value. Homeowners will also be subject to a $250 penalty for not declaring on time.

LISTEN: Vancouver’s crackdown on empty homes, including the one it owns?

“It’s unacceptable for so many homes to be sitting empty or under-occupied in Vancouver when people who live and work here are struggling to find secure and affordable housing,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a release.

Robertson said the tax is one of the “most important tools” the city has implemented to address the housing crisis.

“We did see a slight improvement in the vacancy rate in the last reporting in December from 0.6 to 0.7 per cent,” said chief financial officer Patrice Impey. “So that’s not massive, but it’s a step in the right direction considering it had been going in the other direction.”

WATCH: Victoria councillors push for empty homes tax

The city has also created an audit program to ensure homeowners are compliant with the new tax. Some homes may be selected for an audit and can be asked to provide evidence to support their declaration.

A false declaration can result in fines of up to $10,000 a day in addition to the empty home tax.

Vancouver has one of the lowest rental vacancy rates and one of the highest rental costs in Canada.

READ MORE: Vancouver’s rental vacancy rate is near zero. Here are 7 ideas to help lift it

How to submit a declaration:

  • Online at vancouver.ca/eht-declare. The online declaration process is simple and takes most people only a few minutes to complete.
  • In person at City Hall. Residential property owners may visit City Hall where staff will be available to assist them with online declarations. City hall regular hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are extended this Thursday, February 1 to 8 p.m. to assist homeowners with making their declarations.
  • Over the phone by calling 3-1-1. Homeowners can declare by calling 3-1-1 between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily (outside Vancouver: 604-873-7000) and speaking to a citizen service representative. Homeowners who require a translator to submit their declaration can call 3-1-1 to access translation services.
  • Residential property owners can receive technical and information support for submitting their online declaration at any Vancouver Public Library location. For opening hours and locations visit vpl.ca/hours-locations.

WATCH: Vancouver empty home tax

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