British Columbia

Empty Homes Tax declaration period opens for 2019

The City of Vancouver says it is ready and waiting for homeowners' to start declaring whether they live in their privately-owned properties.

Vancouver homeowners can now start making declarations online and in-person at city hall

City skyscrapers along Vancouver's False Creek neighbourhoods (Tom Popyk)

The City of Vancouver says it is ready and waiting for homeowners to start declaring whether they live in their privately-owned properties.

The Empty Homes Tax declaration period opened  Wednesday for the 2019 tax year, which means everyone who owns a property — even if they live in it year round — can start filling out a declaration form which must be completed before Feb. 4, 2020.

Instructions on how to declare your home vacant or lived in are being mailed out to all property owners, along with Advance Property Tax Notices over the next few weeks, according to a city statement released Tuesday.

Everyone who owns a home in Vancouver must submit their property status to the city. The declarations can be made either online or in person at city hall.

Sunrise over the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood of Vancouver. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

The city said 99.7 per cent of property owners made their tax declaration for 2018 by Oct. 31 — the vast majority of those declared before the original Feb. 4 deadline.

But it said there are still 523 properties whose owners have not submitted for the 2018 tax year.

The city said the tax was put in place to encourage more property owners to make their unoccupied properties available for rent.

Homes that are declared or determined to be vacant are taxed at a rate of one per cent of the property's assessed taxable value for that tax year, and the revenue from the tax continues to be used to fund affordable housing initiatives in the city.

The City of Vancouver's Empty Homes Tax is separate from the provincial government's Speculation and Vacancy Tax. 

City officials are directing all inquiries regarding the province's tax to gov.bc.ca/spectax or to 1-833-554-2323.

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