Finance Minister Carole James explains her budget measures in Victoria, Feb. 20, 2018. (Black Press files)

Rural cabins, cottages exempted from speculation tax

B.C. residents with second homes under $400,000 don’t pay

B.C.’s speculation tax on vacant homes is being restricted to urban areas, with vacation homes in rural areas exempted, Finance Minister Carole James said Monday.

The Gulf Islands, the Juan de Fuca region in Premier John Horgan’s constituency, Parksville and Qualicum Beach are being exempted, James said. The municipalities of Nanaimo, Lantzville, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission will still be included, as are Metro Vancouver, Greater Victoria and the cities of Kelowna and West Kelowna.

B.C. residents also get a break on the tax rate for vacant second homes in urban areas. The tax takes effect on 2018 property value and stays at 0.5 per cent for B.C. residents with second homes.

Albertans and other Canadians whose principal residence is outside B.C. will pay 0.5 per cent the first year, rising to one per cent in 2019 and beyond. Foreign owners and “satellite families” will be the only vacant home owners charged the full two per cent that James announced in February, effective 2019.

B.C. residents with second homes that are subject to the tax will be eligible for a non-refundable tax credit that applies immediately, the finance ministry says. It offsets up to $2,000 of the new tax, meaning they will pay no speculation tax on properties up to $400,000 in value.

To be considered occupied, a home has to be rented at least six months a year in increments of one month. James said second homes in condo developments that don’t allow rentals will be temporarily exempted as well. Being rented out for three months will be sufficient for exemption in 2018 only.

James said she has heard many calls for change or repeal of the tax she announced in February, but it is needed in large urban areas to give people incentive to rent out vacant homes.

The change is designed to exempt “cottages and cabins on the lake,” James told reporters in a conference call from Vancouver.

As originally announced in the B.C. budget Feb. 20, the speculation tax would be charged to out-of-province residents who inherited a family summer or ski cabin, if it is in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Nanaimo or Capital Regional District, or the municipalities of Kelowna and West Kelowna.

James did not comment on the effect the geographical and rate refinements would have on the expected revenue from the tax. She said it is needed to encourage more people to rent out properties that are vacant half the year or more, and to discourage speculative real estate investment.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said the NDP budget projected revenues of $200 million from the speculation tax, and now the rate is being cut for many and boundaries are being changed.

“We’re very concerned that the NDP are making up taxes by trial and error,” Wilkinson said.

Exemptions will also be considered for special circumstances such as a resident moving into long-term care or a property sitting vacant due to a death in the family, James said.

Just Posted

Vancouver Giants fans cheer on team

New booster club aims to unite supporters of Langley-based hockey team

VIDEO: Highway One to be widened east to 264th Street in Langley

The $235 million project includes upgrades to overpasses and a rail bridge

Frankly Speaking: Questions to ponder before SkyTrain reaches Langley

Columnist Frank Bucholtz looks at the impact of SkyTrain before it arrives

SASSY finalists impress judges

Nominees ‘have a maturity beyond their years’

Our View: Retail pot rules needed soon for Langley

Public input will help create some certainty for our marijuana future

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Woman, 60, charged in connection to thefts at YVR

RCMP believe the foreign national is part of a larger organized theft group

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Worst 10 bus routes in Metro Vancouver for rider complaints

TransLink releases list, with Route 319 at the top

Mayors, First Nations chiefs, urge ‘immediate action’ on new Massey crossing

Joint letter asks province to move up timeline, consider only eight-lane tunnel options

Bus driver assault in Vancouver once again raises safety concerns

A 49-year-old Surrey man was released on a promise to appear in court. No charge has been laid

Most Read