B.C. Finance Minister Carole James presents her first budget, February 2017. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press/pool)

James continues to defend housing speculation tax

Removed from vacation homes, it still targets mostly B.C. homeowners

Finance Minister Carole James continues to defend the remaining properties targeted by her government’s speculation tax on vacant homes, after revealing that the majority that will pay the tax are B.C. residents.

Introduced in the February budget as an extension of the empty home tax imposed by the City of Vancouver to target mainly foreign real estate investors, the area affected by the tax was whittled down to major urban centres after an outcry from people with vacation homes.

RELATED: Rural cottages exempted from speculation tax

It now captures about 32,000 properties, 20,000 of which are owned by B.C. residents, James confirmed in debate on her ministry’s budget this week. This prompted a renewed attack by opposition MLAs, who say it still isn’t a speculation tax but rather an asset tax on people with second homes.

James stressed that 99 per cent of B.C. residents won’t pay the tax, and it is needed to promote rentals.

“One per cent who have second or third or fourth homes that they own in the regions that we’ve targeted will pay the speculation tax, if they choose not to rent their place out,” James said Thursday. “We’re in a housing crisis.”

James rolled back the extent of the tax in March after protests from vacation homeowners, exempting the Gulf Islands, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, the Juan de Fuca region in Premier John Horgan’s constituency and rural areas of the Fraser Valley and Central Okanagan.

It currently applies to Metro Vancouver, Greater Victoria and the municipalities of Nanaimo, Lantzville, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Kelowna and West Kelowna. It is to take effect based on 2018 assessed property values, at 0.5 per cent for B.C. residents and two per cent for foreign owners and “satellite families” who don’t pay income tax in B.C.

Albertans and other Canadians whose principal residence is outside B.C. will pay 0.5 per cent in 2018 and one per cent in 2019 and later.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Pedestrian fatally hit on railway in Agassiz

Police, fire and ambulance responded

UBC study shows dairy cows prefer pasture, reap health benefits from outdoor access

With freshet season in full swing, Fraser Valley dairy farmers might be… Continue reading

Fraser Valley Children’s Choir wins first in ‘Sing Me a Song’ contest’s under 18 category

The group will be visited by B.C.’s Lieutenant Governor, who will present them with their award

VIDEO: Dash cam video captures allegedly stolen vehicle in Harrison Hot Springs

RCMP report a vehicle was stolen in Chilliwack May 17, spotted in Harrison and dumped in Deroche

Freshet of 2018 evokes memories of the flood of 1948

And while the devastation of 70 years ago informs flood protection now, similar event not predicted

Police release video on how to ‘run, hide, fight’ if there’s an active shooter

Vancouver police offer video with input from E-Comm, BC EHS, Vancouver Fire and Rescue

Letter to the editor: Put our great grandchildren first

I am shocked how media is using their power to create stories… Continue reading

Media are not an arm of the police, Vice lawyer tells Supreme Court hearing

Ben Makuch challenges Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that he must give materials for stories to RCMP

B.C. launches plan to tackle doctor shortage, emergency room congestion

John Horgan aims to set up regional primary care networks in a ‘team-based’ approach

Vancouver, Squamish pipeline challenges dismissed by court in B.C.

Justice Christopher Grauer ruled the province’s decision to issue the certificate was reasonable

Early learning programs for Indigenous kids get $30M boost

B.C. government to help expand Aboriginal Head Start Association programs with three-year funding

Ferry sailing cancelled after ship’s second officer falls ill

Coastal Inspiration’s 8:15 p.m. sailing to Nanaimo on Tuesday cancelled, passengers to be compensated

Drivers could pay $8 per day to help cut gridlock under new plan

Mobility pricing report outlines two existing models to cut Metro Vancouver congestion by 20-25%

B.C. man recounts intense rescue of couple caught in mudslide

Something told Dan Anderson to go back to the scene of a major mudslide on the long weekend.

Most Read