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New speculation tax brings balance to housing crisis

By Dirk Meissner for The Canadian Press

British Columbia legislation introduced Tuesday would impose a tax of either 0.5 per cent, one per cent or two per cent on the assessed value of a vacant property in the 2019 taxation year and onwards. For the 2018 tax year, the government will levy 0.5 per cent for all properties subject to the tax. The highest rate of two per cent would be applied to foreign owners and so-called satellite families, or those who don’t report the majority of their income on Canadian tax returns, James said. Canadian citizens and permanent residents who don’t live in the province would pay one per cent on their homes assessed value.

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“We are supporting businesses who can’t find employees because they can’t afford housing,” James said. “We are addressing the crisis for families in B.C. That is our job as government and we are going to get it done.” The tax was introduced in February’s budget with few details as part of the government’s 30-point plan to create 114,000 affordable housing units over the next decade. “With today’s legislation we’re acting to bring balance back to our housing market,” James told a news conference.

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