Vacant Home Tax???

Do you own a home in BC?  Are you aware of the Vacant Home Tax?

As we roll into 2019, I have had several people ask me about the Provincial Speculation and Vacancy Tax that takes effect this year. Depending on your status as Canadian/BC resident and whether or not your home is occupied or vacant, you may have to pay an additional tax between 0% – 2% of the assessed value. Using the average sale price of a home in the Nanaimo area, you could get a bill for as much as $11,000.

The Province will mail a declaration to all registered owners as of December 31st 2018 of residential (not commercial) property in designated taxable regions of BC sometime in mid-February.  Locally this is the City of Nanaimo or District of Lantzville. This declaration must be completed, and any exemptions claimed, by March 31st 2019.  If a declaration is not completed, and any exemptions claimed, by March 31st 2019 then the Province will go after the individual shown as the registered owner as of December 31st 2018 personally.  They will not place a lien on the property for unpaid taxes (which I understand is what the City of Vancouver does).

The potential problem that can arise is all those people who have sold their property since January 1st 2019 and haven’t received a declaration yet.  It is still those people’s responsibility to complete the declaration and claim any exemption before March 31st 2019.  It is not the new owner’s responsibility. If these people are not having their mail forwarded, they may not receive the declaration.

Properties on the Gulf Islands and with a value of less than $400,000 are exempt.

The link below leads to the BC Government site with further details:

This map that shows an overview of the vacant home tax areas:

  1. Hello,
    My husband and I are currently living in Alberta. We grew up on the island and are looking to purchase a piece of raw land to hopefully come home to some day. My hesitation is this new tax, since we are not B.C. residents. Does this only apply to property that has a building on it?
    Thank you for your help.

    • Sarah, Yes, this only applies to property that has a home and only within specific areas so you will be exempt with vacant land. Hope this helps.

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