B.C. Finance Minister Carole James presents her first budget, February 2017. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press/pool)

James continues to defend housing speculation tax

Removed from vacation homes, it still targets mostly B.C. homeowners

Finance Minister Carole James continues to defend the remaining properties targeted by her government’s speculation tax on vacant homes, after revealing that the majority that will pay the tax are B.C. residents.

Introduced in the February budget as an extension of the empty home tax imposed by the City of Vancouver to target mainly foreign real estate investors, the area affected by the tax was whittled down to major urban centres after an outcry from people with vacation homes.

RELATED: Rural cottages exempted from speculation tax

It now captures about 32,000 properties, 20,000 of which are owned by B.C. residents, James confirmed in debate on her ministry’s budget this week. This prompted a renewed attack by opposition MLAs, who say it still isn’t a speculation tax but rather an asset tax on people with second homes.

James stressed that 99 per cent of B.C. residents won’t pay the tax, and it is needed to promote rentals.

“One per cent who have second or third or fourth homes that they own in the regions that we’ve targeted will pay the speculation tax, if they choose not to rent their place out,” James said Thursday. “We’re in a housing crisis.”

James rolled back the extent of the tax in March after protests from vacation homeowners, exempting the Gulf Islands, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, the Juan de Fuca region in Premier John Horgan’s constituency and rural areas of the Fraser Valley and Central Okanagan.

It currently applies to Metro Vancouver, Greater Victoria and the municipalities of Nanaimo, Lantzville, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Kelowna and West Kelowna. It is to take effect based on 2018 assessed property values, at 0.5 per cent for B.C. residents and two per cent for foreign owners and “satellite families” who don’t pay income tax in B.C.

Albertans and other Canadians whose principal residence is outside B.C. will pay 0.5 per cent in 2018 and one per cent in 2019 and later.

Just Posted

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

200 firefighters and 18 helicopters were working to increase the containment of the fires

Revelstoke Art Gallery hosts exhibition in honour of Pat Wells

Barbara Maye Special to the Review Stone Carving and Revelstoke have a… Continue reading

Okanagan Wildfires: An evening update on wildfires and evacuations

A Saturday evening look at the major wildfires impacting the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Wildfires in Mt. Revelstoke National Park not currently a threat to people or assets

Since the lightning storm on Tuesday there have been three fires on… Continue reading

UPDATE: Revelstoke RCMP looking for information on missing person John Cunliffe

The Revelstoke Royal Canadian Mounted Police Detachment is continuing to ask for… Continue reading

All-Indigenous teams break new ground, making BC Games history

This is the first time there have been dedicated Indigenous teams at the BC Summer Games

ZONE 2: Okanagan twins bring ultimate competition to the BC Games

Brothers Connor and Holden Berrisford are each other’s main motivators

Mount Conkle fire grew but 90 per cent guarded

The wildfire has grown to an estimated 118 hectares from 93 hectares last night

Update:Mount Eneas wildfire holds at 1,374 hectares

The wildfire is still considered out of control

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Haida Gwaii village faces housing crisis, targets short-term rentals

Housing is tight and the village is pretty close to zero vacancy

Progress being made on Okanagan wildfires

Danger not over, fires could flare up again

B.C. VIEWS: Unions regain control of public construction

B.C.’s 40-year battle swings back to international big labour

Update: Okanagan Mountain Park fire holds at 400 hectares

The wildfire, also called Goode’s Creek wildfire, continues to burn near Kelowna

Most Read