Category Archives: politics

Details on BC speculation tax

The BC Government has provided details of a new real estate speculation tax.

-.5 tax for BC owners
-1% tax for Canadian owners
-2% tax for non-canadiana owners
-Exemptions for BC owners under $400k
-Does not apply to rural vacation property

So what do you think, have they struck the right balance on this tax and what impact do you think it will have on real estate prices?

BC seeks Ottawa support on money laundering

The BC Attorney General is headed to Ottawa to ask for more support to crack down on money laundering.

He plans to outline the challenges here in BC before the federal Finance Committee.

“The issues that we’re grappling with around real estate and casinos, and the seriousness of the impact that gang violence has when these gangs are able to launder money,” he outlines.

“The federal government has a huge role to play in supporting British Columbia in our fight against money laundering. The role really includes key actors like Fintrac, which is the anti-money laundering agency that receives all the reports from casinos, realtors, [and] notaries,” says Eby.

He believes drug dealers and other criminals have been spending millions of dollars in illegally gained cash at local casinos and then getting clean bills back in return. He has said the issue is so prevalent here, experts call it “the Vancouver Model.”

He’s pushing for more support and coordination to clamp down on money laundering. He also wants more public accountability.

Read the full article here.

City following up on declarations for empty home tax

It looks like the city is serious about the empty home tax, at least one commenter here has received notice of an audit.

Well it seems the City is following up on the declarations made for its Empty Home Tax.

We were just notified that we are being audited for declaring our home as occupied as a principal residence. Interesting, since we’ve been in the same location for many years, and there are many empty homes in our area. You’d think the City would look at the homes that have changed hands more recently, since these are the ones that are left empty!

 

30 years of vacant lots in False Creek

We may be running out of land, but apparently the old expo lands aren’t. The city has had tentative rights to 6 vacant lots intended for affordable housing for almost 3 decades:

Veteran architect and planner Michael Geller said it is “outrageous” that these sites haven’t been developed, but he believes talks could now be rekindled — even if the levels of government come up with a different plan for who might live in these future buildings, such as a mix of social, low-income, rental and affordable ownership. Some type of solution is required, he argued, if people are going to believe the affordable housing promises made for future developments in the city.

“When Northeast False Creek came up, I did say: Look, it’s great to promise all this affordable housing, but let’s not forget we still have these six sites undeveloped in the north shore of False Creek,’” said Geller, who was involved in the Coal Harbour development at the time.

Read the full article here.

 

BC Speculation Tax Impact

People who own more than one home are worried about the new speculation tax:

From a Vancouver Island resident with a condo in Vancouver: “If the proposed speculation tax proceeds as you describe, the two-per-cent tax will far exceed the B.C. income tax that we normally pay. We will have no choice but to sell our Vancouver condo. We’re not speculators. We simply wanted to enjoy a few days a month in the city we used to live in, in the comfort of our own condo.”

On the problem for seniors with recreational properties that have been in the family for years: “If they pay zero income tax because their annual income is low enough to warrant no tax — i.e. married couple making around $25,000 or so — they’d never recover the amount.”

From someone with a place on Saturna: “They call it a speculation tax, but it seems more like an empty home tax. The government claims that taxing homes which remain empty most of the year will help deal with the housing shortage. If that is the case, why isn’t Whistler included? The prices are skyrocketing and there is a real housing shortage for workers. On the other hand, they include a Gulf Island like Saturna, where there isn’t a housing shortage and housing prices haven’t risen in more than eight years.”

On the perverse incentives of a tax vis-a-vis longtime residents versus actual speculators: “If you speculate and sell the property quickly, you pay the tax once, while those keeping property for years pay years of tax. The short-term speculators win!”

Read the full article here.