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Vancouver Introduces Empty Homes Tax

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-news.com, Washington

11 November 2016


Vancouver is to apply a one percent Empty Homes Tax from January 1, 2017, Mayor Gregor Robertson has announced.

The Mayor's Office has recommended that all non-principal residences that are unoccupied for six full months of the year will be subject to a one percent Empty Homes Tax. Vacant residential land will also be subject to the tax.

Principal residences will not be charged the Empty Homes Tax. There will be exemptions for properties that are rented long-term (with a tenancy agreement) or for at least 30 days in a row for a minimum of six months in aggregate over the course of a year.

Other exemptions include: properties undergoing major renovations; properties where the registered owner or occupier is undergoing medical care; properties where the owner is deceased and grant of probate or administration is pending; and properties where the registered owner uses the property for six months of year for work purposes but claims principal residence elsewhere.

Robertson said: "Vancouver is in a rental housing crisis. The city won't sit on the side-lines while over 20,000 empty and under-occupied properties hold back homes for renters struggling to find an affordable and secure place to live. In a rental housing crisis, it's unacceptable for so much housing to be treated as a commodity when people are desperate for an affordable, secure place to live. Housing is for homes first, and as investments second."

In August, British Columbia introduced a new property transfer tax on sales of residential properties to foreign entities in the Greater Vancouver Regional District. The tax is applied at 15 percent of the fair market value of the foreign entity's proportionate share of a residential property located in whole or in part in the Greater Vancouver Regional District, excluding Tsawwassen First Nation lands.

TAGS: tax | investment | property tax | real-estate | tax rates | Canada | tax reform

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