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Preparing for the Vancouver Empty Homes Tax

Posted on January 03, 2018

For the new Empty Homes Tax, every homeowner in Vancouver must submit a property status declaration for the 2017 calendar year. The City of Vancouver implemented this tax on January 1, 2017, in response to the large number of empty homes and a rental vacancy rate of less than one percent. How will this bold move by the local government affect you as a homeowner? We’ve got a breakdown for you.

What is the Empty Homes Tax?

Additional taxes are never something to look forward to, but fortunately, the new Empty Homes Tax won’t affect many homeowners. As long as your home meets the following criteria for 2017, you won’t have to pay any additional tax:

• Used as a principal residence by the owner, his/her family member, or a friend for at least six months of the current year
• Rented for at least six months of the current year, in periods of 30 or more consecutive days

There is also a detailed list of exemptions, such as a transfer of property for buying or selling your home during the year, major renovations with permits, or a long-term stay in a hospital or care facility.

How Much is the Empty Homes Tax?

If your home was vacant for more than six months of the year, and you don’t fall under any of the exemptions, you’ll be subject to a tax of 1% of your home’s assessed taxable value.

When is the Empty Homes Tax Declaration Due?

If you own a home in Vancouver, you have to submit your property status declaration by February 2, 2018 – whether your home was ‘empty’ or not. The information you provide on the declaration will determine whether your property is subject to the tax for 2017. If you are subject to the Empty Homes Tax, your payment will due by April 16, 2018.

How Do You Submit Your Empty Homes Tax Declaration?

The City of Vancouver has made the process quite simple by creating an online declaration process. It will take no more than five minutes to complete, and you’ll only need a few pieces of information – your folio number and access code (found on your most recent property tax notice), and any additional information such as tenant names. If you get stuck at any point, the City has included detailed instructions in multiple languages and a helpful online chat feature.

Whether your home will be considered empty or not, it’s important to complete your online declaration by February 2, 2018. Even if your home is occupied, if you fail to submit your declaration by the deadline, you’ll face both a $250 fine and the 1% tax.

Throughout 2018, it will be very interesting to see how the Empty Homes Tax affects the low rental vacancy rates here in Vancouver. If you own a rental property that you would like to sell or are interested in investing in a rental property, you can always set up a free appointment with our team. In the meantime, take five minutes to submit your declaration and keep an eye on our blog for any further news around the Empty Homes Tax.