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

Update: North Beach clam harvest closed due to PSP biotoxin

Marine biotoxin results in closure for all bivalve harvesting from Wiah Point to Rose Spit

In Pictures: Rock the Plank! brings in the booty

Pirate-themed skate party raises $2,500 for new Masset Skate Society

Haida Gwaii fishing grounds are key to survival of northern resident killer whales: DFO

Plan marks waters from Langara to Rose Spit as critical habitat for northern resident killer whales

Masset suggests a simpler structure for Gwaii Trust

Change would parallel existing municipal, regional district representation for non-Haida communities

Grade 9s on Gwaii Haanas trip visit “the best spot on Haida Gwaii”

Now in its fourth year, Grade 9 trip gives Haida Gwaii youth a chance to visit Tanu and Windy Bay

Here’s what you need to know about Day 1 at the BC Games

All 18 events kick off on the track, riding ring, fields, courts and lake in the Cowichan Valley

BC toddler with ‘allergy’ to sun waiting for bone marrow transplant

Charlie Lock, 2, needs treatment for damage caused by rare disorder EPP

VIDEO: How to throw a frisbee

Ultimate frisbee player Amy Mackay shows off the proper technique

Site C dam project plagued by problems: expert

E. Harvey Elwin expresses concern about internal BC Hydro and government documents

Seal attacks kayakers off northern Vancouver Island

‘It has to be one chance in a million of this happening.’

Victoria-area park sign removed after glitch redirects to porn site

Resident looking to learn more about workout equipment discovered the problem code

Special Olympic athletes take on BC Games during special anniversary

Known as the Global Day of Inclusion, July 20 marks the first Special Olympics in 1968 in Chicago

Scammers dressed as Mounties threaten to arrest senior if she doesn’t cough up cash

Pair of fraudulent officers threaten to arrest 90-year-old woman

Fundraiser to help mom of jogger detained after crossing U.S. border

Cedella Roman, 19, was held in U.S. after accidentally crossing border in South Surrey

Most Read