Don’t forget to declare your Empty Home Tax

We hope everyone had a great new year and have been successful in achieving their resolutions. This time of year is always very exciting and makes everyone excited to see the direction the new year will take. It’s important not to get too caught up with all the excitement though. It’s almost time to declare empty home tax. The Empty Homes Tax is applied annually and with the tax year beginning January 1st.

Why we have the Empty Homes Tax

The whole point of the Empty Homes Tax (also known as the Vacancy Tax) is to return empty or unused properties to the long-term residents in the City of Vancouver, whether they are renting or buying. It’s an initiative aimed at tackling the housing crisis in major urban centres in BC. With so many homes sitting vacant, there’s no reason not to fill them to help give a roof to the people who are actually living in the city.

What is the tax

Properties deemed empty are subject to a tax of 1% of the property’s 2019 assessed taxable value. Most homes will not be subject to that tax since it does not apply to principal residences or homes rented for at least six months of the year. However, all homeowners are still required to submit a declaration even if you live in your home. Only one property status declaration is required each year per property.

Important dates to remember

The start of the empty home tax year is January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019 marks the end of this tax year. Your deadline to declare your empty homes tax is February 4, 2020. Empty Homes Tax payment for 2019 must be made on April 16, 2020.

How to declare

Making the declaration is very easy process and can be done in a few ways. You can either sign on to the government website or go in person to city hall.

The declaration doesn’t take long to complete, approximately five minutes. If you have trouble declaring your tax, you may give permission for someone to submit your declaration on your behalf.

What you need to declare

You will need your folio number and access code from your property tax notices, as well as any additional information, such as tenant names, court order number, permit number, etc.

Failure to declare

There are consequences if you fail to declare your property by the deadline. It will result in your property being deemed vacant and subject to a tax of 1% of its assessed taxable value and a $250 penalty.

We suggest you read the bylaws yourself for a more accurate understanding of the how the tax affects you.

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