BC speculation tax set to rise

British Columbia's Speculation and Vacancy Tax will increase from 0.5% to 2% starting 31 December, according to the Ministry of Finance.

The new tax rate will be applied to all foreign owners and satellite families and will be due by July next year.

"Based on the data from the first year, we see the tax is working as it was designed to: capturing speculators, foreign owners and people who own vacant homes, while exempting more than 99.8% of British Columbians," said Finance Minister Carole James.

The tax was introduced last year, with the aim to target homes in the most populated areas in BC that were not declared as a primary residence or were not rented out for at least three months annually.

Since the implementation of the tax, the government has collected $115m, which was used to fund affordable housing projects.

Aside from the tax rate, the changes will provide an exemption for property owners who are members of the Canadian Armed Forces while in active service. Canadians who own properties accessible only through water will also be waived from paying the tax.

Meanwhile, the exemption for rental-restricted strata will now end by 31 December 2021.

On the other hand, the exemption for foreign owners of vacant land will be lifted starting next year.