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.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Morning start: Numerous shipwrecks can be found below Kootenay Lake

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Thursday, May 28

Geotechnical work set to get underway at Rossland Museum

Crews will be working at the museum from June 1 to 12

City of Rossland asks motorists to be mindful of four bears roaming around Trail hill

The bears have been seen multiple times along the highway this month

Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

Young Agrarians links would-be farmers with landowners who have land to spare

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

Most Read