B.C. Finance Minister Carole James delivers her first full budget, Feb. 20, 2018. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Carole James hints at changes to B.C. empty home tax

Out-of-province vacation homeowners aren’t speculators, some B.C. residents are

Two days after introducing Canada’s first “speculation tax” on empty homes, B.C. Finance Minister Carole James was emphatic. People who don’t pay income tax in B.C. but own a vacation home in high-demand areas of the province that isn’t available for long-term rental will pay the new tax.

Now, after hearing from people whose primary residence is in Alberta or another province with a vacation home in B.C., James is hinting that changes will be made.

“We’re targeting people who are speculating in the market, who are not contributing to the tax system in British Columbia,” James told reporters at the legislature Wednesday. “People who are using our housing market as a stock market.”

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.

It is to begin this fall at 0.5 per cent of property value, rising to two per cent later.

As announced in February, it would not be charged to someone who pays income tax in B.C. and owns multiple homes as investments, even if they are not offered for long-term rent and sit empty. James said Wednesday that is also being reconsidered.

“Remember, the tax notices don’t go out until late in the fall, so we have the time,” James said. “We wanted to introduce it as part of the February budget because people want to know what we’re moving on with affordable housing. The speculation tax was key to that.”

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said the NDP government is “making up tax policy on the fly,” having second thoughts about applying the employer health tax to hospital and school payrolls, and considering exemptions for the speculation tax on secondary homes.

“What the NDP have done is called a speculation tax what is really an asset tax,” Wilkinson said. “What they want to do is slowly chip away at people’s equity in their homes. They’re saying for now it’s secondary homes, but not sure if its applying to foreigners only, not sure if it’s applying to Albertans.”

Just Posted

Saanich police look for driver involved in a hit-and-run

Incident happened Monday, Feb. 18 near Admirals Road by Murray Drive

Geography among factors behind Saanich’s place on worst intersection list

Site of McKenzie Interchange Project ranks as worst intersection on Vancouver Island

Bungy jump naked in support of mental health programs

Registration open for annual fundraiser for BC Schizophrenia Society

Search for modular housing in Saanich continues

Municipality says it remains committed to search for suitable piece of land to house homeless

Home show hits Pearkes this weekend

Victoria Early Spring Home Expo, Friday to Sunday

Black Press readers share photos of their favourite critters on #LoveYourPetDay

Greater Victoria is raining cats and dogs…and snails and goats

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Man wanted for sex trafficking, confinement may be heading to B.C.

Kevin Myrthil, 26, is also accused of assault on a 19-year-old woman at an Edmonton hotel

Parksville council won’t ban single-use plastic bags

Politicians vote 6-1 against proposed bylaw

B.C. Speaker Darryl Plecas resumes battle with suspended staff

Committee meets at B.C. legislature to consider new allegations

Northern B.C. train derailment due to broken axle could happen again: TSB

CN coal train derailment caused by broken axle can happen again without a different way to inspect

Former B.C. fire chief sues his city after termination

Keith Green’s civil claim says that he believes he was wrongfully terminated

B.C. man injured in police shooting now in wheelchair

“Shots were fired by police and the Kelowna man was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.”

Most Read