Facts on BC's Speculation & Vacancy Tax

Monday, April 22, 2024   /   by Janine Thomson

Facts on BC's Speculation & Vacancy Tax

British Columbia's vacant property tax, officially known as the Speculation and Vacancy Tax (SVT), is a provincial tax aimed at addressing housing affordability and encouraging owners to utilize residential properties in high-demand areas. Here's everything you need to know about BC's vacant tax:

 The primary objective of the Speculation and Vacancy Tax is to target properties that are left vacant for extended periods, particularly in areas with low rental vacancy rates or high demand for housing. By imposing a tax on vacant properties, the government aims to encourage owners to either rent out their properties or sell them to address the housing shortage.

Applicable Regions:
 The SVT applies to designated regions in British Columbia where housing affordability and availability are significant concerns. These regions include the Metro Vancouver Regional District (excluding Bowen Island and Lions Bay), the Capital Regional District (excluding the Gulf Islands and Juan de Fuca Electoral Area), Kelowna, West Kelowna, Nanaimo, Lantzville, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Mission.

Taxable Properties:
 The SVT applies to residential properties within the designated regions that are left vacant for six months or more in a calendar year. This includes homes, condominiums, townhouses, and other residential properties. However, certain exemptions and exclusions may apply, such as properties used for rental purposes, properties under construction or renovation, and properties owned by specific entities like municipalities or Indigenous Nations.

Tax Rates:
 The tax rates for vacant properties vary depending on the owner's residency status and the property's assessed value. For 2022, the tax rate for vacant properties owned by foreign owners and satellite families is 2% of the property's assessed value. For Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are not members of a satellite family, the tax rate is 0.5% of the assessed value. Additional tax credits and exemptions may apply in certain circumstances.

Declaration and Exemptions:
 Property owners are required to complete an annual declaration to determine whether their property is subject to the SVT. The declaration process allows owners to claim exemptions or provide evidence of occupancy to avoid or reduce the tax. Exemptions may apply for properties used as a primary residence, occupied by tenants, under construction or renovation, or owned by specific entities.

Enforcement and Penalties:
 The provincial government actively enforces the Speculation and Vacancy Tax through audits, investigations, and compliance measures. Property owners who fail to declare or pay the tax may be subject to penalties, including fines, interest charges, and liens on their properties.

Impact on Property Owners:
 The SVT has implications for property owners, particularly those who own vacant or underutilized properties in designated regions. Owners subject to the tax may face increased carrying costs and financial penalties if they do not comply with the requirements. However, the tax aims to promote housing affordability and address the issue of vacant properties in high-demand areas.

Overall, the Speculation and Vacancy Tax is a significant policy measure implemented by the British Columbia government to address housing affordability and encourage the productive use of residential properties in designated regions. Property owners should familiarize themselves with the requirements and implications of the tax to ensure compliance and avoid potential penalties.


The information provided in these posts are for general purposes only. It is not written nor intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind. No one should act upon, refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided & recorded, or through any hypertext links and other general information, without first seeking appropriate legal and/or other professional advice.

  real estate, real estate taxes