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BC Speculation Tax - Declaration Due by March 31, 2019 (and annually thereafter)

Posted by Ron Neal on Thursday, March 7th, 2019 at 3:09pm.

  • This new annual tax is designed to:

    • Target foreign and domestic speculators who own residences in B.C. but don’t pay taxes here
    • Turn empty homes into good housing for people
    • Raise revenue that will directly support affordable housing

    All owners of residential property in the designated taxable regions of B.C. must complete an annual declaration. Over 99% of British Columbians are estimated to be exempt from the tax.

    How to Exempt Yourself

    To claim your exemption, you must register your property by March 31, 2019 – and it’s easy to do, either by phone or online. The information you’ll need to register your property declaration will be mailed by mid-February to all owners of residential property within the taxable regions. 

    Contact us if you’re expecting a declaration letter from us and haven’t received one by late February.

    Please note that if your property has more than one owner, even if the other owner is your spouse, a separate declaration must be made for each owner. 

    How the Tax Will Be Charged If You're Not Exempt

    The speculation and vacancy tax rate varies depending on the owner’s tax residency and whether the owner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, or a member of a satellite family.

    By levying the highest tax rate on foreign owners and satellite families (those who earn a majority of income outside the province and pay little to no income tax in B.C.), the speculation and vacancy tax is a way to make sure these property owners are paying their fair share in taxes.

    The speculation and vacancy tax applies based on ownership as of December 31 each year.

Declaration for Speculation and Vacancy Tax

All property owners should have received their declaration letter. If you haven't received your letter yet, contact us:

  • Toll-Free: 1 (833) 554-2323
  • Outside North America: 1 (604) 660-2421

Did you know it only takes a few minutes to complete your declaration online?  It’s faster than calling and we make sure your information is safe and secure.

All residential property owners in the designated taxable regions must complete an annual declaration for the speculation and vacancy tax. Where there are multiple owners of a home, a declaration must be completed by each owner, including spouses.

You must complete a declaration to claim an exemption. Over 99% of all British Columbians will be exempt from the tax.

The deadline to complete your declaration is March 31.

If you don’t complete your declaration, you’ll receive a tax notice charging you the tax at the maximum tax rate. You can still complete your declaration to claim an exemption even after you've received a tax notice.

If you don’t own residential property in a designated taxable region, you don’t need to complete a declaration.

How to Declare and Claim Your Exemption

If you own residential property in a designated taxable region on December 31, the Province will send you a speculation and vacancy tax declaration letter in the mail by mid-February. Contact us if you’re expecting a declaration letter from us and haven’t received one by late February.

Your declaration letter will list all the residential properties you own in the designated taxable regions and will tell you how to declare and claim any relevant exemptions. The letter will be sent to you at your mailing address on file with BC Assessment.

If you need to update your mailing address, please contact BC Assessment to do so.

Your letter will include two unique identification numbers: a declaration code and a letter ID. These numbers match you to your property. You'll need these numbers to complete your declaration. You'll also need your social insurance number to verify your identity.

If you’re a corporation, you’ll need your incorporation number (e.g. BC123456789). If you’re declaring online and your incorporation number is fewer than 9 digits, add zeros after “BC” until you have 9 digits (e.g. BC001234567).

This is what your letter will look like:

This image of the top portion of the speculation and vacancy tax declaration letter sent to applicable property owners shows the placement of the B.C. logo, the declaration code, the letter ID, the Declare Now stamp and website address.  This image is intended to help property owners visually recognize their declaration letter when they receive it in the mail.

As soon as you receive your declaration letter, you can complete your declaration through the online declaration application. You will be guided through the exemption options for each property.

If you prefer, you can declare over the phone with the help of an agent by calling us after you receive your declaration letter. Language translation services are available over the phone.

Complete your declaration right away to claim any relevant exemptions and avoid receiving a tax notice.

Someone else can complete your declaration online for you if they:

However, if someone else is completing your declaration over the phone, you must also be present on the call. This is because protecting your personal information is important to us.

Areas Subject to Speculation Tax

  • On Vancovuer Island this includes The Cities of Victoria and Nanaimo and Municipalities within the Capital Regional District. This excludes Salt Spring Island, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, and the Southern Gulf Islands

Tax Rates for Speculation and Vacancy Tax

The speculation and vacancy tax rate varies depending on the owner’s tax residency. In addition, the tax rate varies based on whether the owner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, or a satellite family.

For 2018, the tax rate is:

  • 0.5% of the property’s assessed value for all properties subject to the tax

For 2019 and subsequent years, the tax rate is:

The speculation and vacancy tax applies based on ownership as of December 31 each year.

A speculation and vacancy tax year is the same as a calendar year. Tax levied on December 31 is due the following July. For example, for a property owned as of December 31, 2018, the 2018 tax rate of 0.5% applies and the tax is due on July 2, 2019.

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The Neal Estate Team

The Neal Estate Team is your #1 source for all of your Victoria BC real estate needs. Get in touch with us online or by phone at (250) 386-8181 to speak with a Victoria real estate buying or selling expert today. With decades of experience as a top selling Victoria REALTOR® and ranked in top 1% globally with over 4,000 transactions and $1 Billion SOLD, Ron Neal & The Neal Estate Team have the industry experience and market knowledge to help you make smart and informed buying or selling decisions. 


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