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A Modest Proposal: On B.C. real estate and taxation

The problem of housing affordability is, of course, complex and multivariate.

There are many conflicting reports and no shortage of opinions on the nature of ownership in the “VanRe” housing market.

The reality is that there is not a good base of information. There are many ideas on what controls – or not – are needed regarding the purchase of housing.

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What we do need is accurate information on the acquisition and disposition of interests in real estate.

The current system of “self-reporting” at the time of disposition is not working. The CRA did not enforce it for many years. Confusing requirements impose significant burdens on the wrong parties. For example, the recent v. 29 of the Property Transfer Tax Form requires buyers to certify the tax residency of sellers – who they most often have never met. This problem is compounded by the complexity of our laws around tax residency.

So what is needed to collect accurate, actionable data for both tax collection and the formation of public policy?

We need at least three innovative measures to be put in place immediately. The details of how to implement the recommendations below will need significant and broad consultation.

Continue reading the full story here >>

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