Finance Minister Carole James presents her latest budget to the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2019. (B.C. government)

B.C. speculation tax holdouts should talk to city hall, minister says

Deadline to file exemption was April 1, bills start going out in June

Urban B.C. property owners who didn’t get around to filling out their speculation tax declaration form by April 1 can expect to get a bill in June, but they can still register and escape the additional property tax for 2019.

Finance Minister Carole James says there will also be an opportunity for hardship cases to appeal to the local government in affected cities, and those will be reviewed when James meets with mayors this summer.

The finance ministry reports that more than 90 per cent of affected property owners have registered, and most of those won’t pay because they own only their principal residence or rent out additional properties for at least six months of the year.

People who missed the registration deadline can still do the declaration online, or ask questions by emailing spectaxinfo@gov.bc.ca or calling toll-free 1-833-554-2323 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays.

Even if they receive a bill because of late registration, they won’t have to pay if they qualify for the exemption, James said. And those who have a case that the tax is an undue burden should take it up with their municipal council.

“That’s exactly why we have meetings with the mayors, so we can have those conversations,” James told reporters at the B.C. legislature Wednesday. “And as I’ve said all along, if changes need to be made, if there’s a good case for taking a look at that, we’ll take a look at that.”

READ MORE: Seniors with unrentable cabins face big tax bills

COLUMN: Negative-option billing for speculation tax unpopular

Waterfront cabin owners from Belcarra came to the B.C. legislature in March to protest that rising land values captured their rustic retreats, despite a lack of road access and water service that makes them unable to be rented.

After protests from urban municipalities and extended negotiations between the NDP government and the B.C. Green Party, the property tax now applies only to Metro Vancouver, Greater Victoria and the municipalities of Nanaimo, Lantzville, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Kelowna and West Kelowna.

The rate was reduced to 0.5 per cent of property value for all Canadian owners at the insistence of B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver, who earlier objected to it being applied to rural vacation homes in the Gulf Islands.

For foreign owners and “satellite families,” where much of the household income is not taxed in Canada, the rate is two per cent of the assessed value.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

Sewage treatment plant in Esquimalt sees rising costs

A staff report to the CRD shows rising costs for wastewater treatment project

Vancouver Island mom says she will go to court overseas to try to get daughter back

Tasha Brown says her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

Sidney bank robbery suspect also sought in connect to Abbotsford robbery

Lucas Daryl Bradwell, 28, is known to frequent the Lower Mainland but is believed to be on Vancouver Island

VIDEO: Dashcam video captures moment Victoria cyclist struck

Police seeking cyclist captured in video

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Nine kittens and cats rescued after being locked in bins in northern B.C.: SPCA

SPCA says cats were starving, and matted with feces and urine

High-speed rail link would run from Vancouver to Seattle in under 1 hour: study

Annual ridership is projected to exceed three million

ICBC insurance renewals get more complicated this year

Crash history, driver risk prompt more reporting requirements

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Most Read