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

Traffic into Penticton Public Library slows, attributed to safety concerns

Foot traffic into the Penticton Public Library is down four per cent,… Continue reading

Star Gazing: Binoculars on the Christmas list

Advice on buying a gift for the astronomer on your list

Independent Investigations Office seeks witnesses following arrest in Penticton

The male resisted arrest at approximately 8:40 a.m. and sustained a head injury

City of Penticton records all-time high for fatal overdoses

Seventeen people have fatally overdosed so far this year

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen directors to receive pay increase

Increase of 11.9 per cent to offset changes to taxation for elected officials

VIDEO: MPs reflect on anti-feminist violence on 30th anniversary of Montreal massacre

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at Ecole polytechnique on the evening of Dec. 6, 1989

Letter: ‘Naughty’ Santa needs to do some reflecting

“The actions represent sexism and violence towards women.”

B.C. Transit scores 28 used fareboxes on eBay, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Year in jail for ex-Vernon Judo coach for child porn

Bryan McLachlan pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing child pornography

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Economy lost 71,200 jobs in November, unemployment rate climbs to 5.9%

Jobless rate is at its highest since August 2018, when it hit 6%

RCMP searching for missing Kamloops woman

Hayley Haines was last seen Dec. 3

Trans-Canada Highway closed east of Revelstoke after head-on collision between trucks

The highway isn’t expected to reopen until after 2 p.m.

Morning Start: Happy Saint Nicholas Day

Your morning start for Friday, Dec. 6

Most Read