Foreigners were the largest segment paying BC’s speculation tax

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

Foreign home owners paid speculation and vacancy tax

Ephraim Vecina
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Majority of those who were penalized by BC’s speculation and vacancy tax in its first year were foreign home owners, according to the finance ministry.

Of the 12,029 taxpayers who remitted by July 2, as much as 4,485 were foreign nationals. This was followed by satellite families (3,241 individuals), BC residents (2,410), and non-BC Canadians (1,555).

The ministry’s final “other” category, which includes homes owned by corporations or trusts, had 238 taxpayers.

The ministry added that taxed residences were approximately 46% more expensive than exempted assets located in the taxable areas.

Overall, the levy had an estimated $115 million in revenue in just its first year, significantly outstripping the initial $87-million estimate cited in the 2019 provincial budget.

High assessment values in BC’s housing market, which had a larger-than-expected average of $1.62 million, were a major factor in this revenue.

Finance Minister Carole James hailed the tax as a major factor in improving rental supply, with empty properties being used as housing.

She assured that the collected funds will be used to address the long-running affordability crisis by improving housing access and supply.

“The speculation and vacancy tax was designed to make sure foreign owners, satellite families and people who use local services without paying income tax in B.C. contribute to the quality of life we all enjoy in this province,” James stated in a news release, as quoted by Star Vancouver.

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