Vancouver City Council has approved a new one percent (1%) tax on empty and under-utilized homes. The goal of the Empty Homes Tax is to provide an incentive for property owners to rent out their homes, which will increase housing supply and help families and young people to stay in our community at a time when the rental vacancy rate is near-zero.
The majority of homeowners, including snowbirds, will not have to pay the Empty Homes Tax. The Empty Homes Tax will not apply to properties used as the principal residence of either the homeowner or his/her permitted occupant. Additionally, the Empty Homes Tax will not apply to properties that are rented out for a minimum of six months of the year (in periods of at least 30 consecutive days). The City has outlined a number of additional exemptions for the tax, listed at www.vancouver.ca/emptyhomes . Vacant residential property will be subject to the tax unless an exemption applies.
The Empty Homes Tax will be applied annually, with the first tax year beginning on January 1, 2017. In December 2017 along with the Advance Property Tax Notice, all owners of residential property in Vancouver will receive a property status declaration notice for the 2017 calendar year. Declarations will be due by February 2, 2018; failure to declare will result in the property being subject to the tax.
Property status declarations will be subject to a rigorous audit process, in line with best practices for provincial and federal tax programs. If you delcare an exemption or your property is selected for audit, you will be required to provide evidence in support of your declaration. Homeowners found to have made false declarations will be subject to significant fines and penalties of up to $10,000 per day.
The City is working closely with LandlordBC, a professional association of owners and managers of rental housing, to assist Vancouver homeowners who decide to rent out their property. Please visit www.landlordbc.ca/empty-homes for more information.
Source: City of Vancouver