City of Vancouver: Half of Empty Homes Tax declarations submitted

Vancouver property owners have until February 4 to meet deadline

THE City of Vancouver is reminding all owners of residential property in Vancouver that they are required to submit an Empty Homes Tax declaration for 2019 by February 4. As of January 6, 49 per cent of owners had already submitted their declarations, which is one per cent ahead of last year at this time.

On average, it only takes two minutes to complete the online declaration at vancouver.ca/eht-declare.

Homeowners who fail to declare by the due date will have their properties deemed vacant and will be subject to the Empty Homes Tax at a rate of one per cent of the property’s 2019 assessed taxable value, as well as a $250 penalty. Payment is due by April 16, or a five per cent penalty will be applied.

In November, City Council approved an increase in the Empty Homes Tax rate to 1.25 per cent for the 2020 tax year ― that increase does not go into effect until 2020 declarations open in late 2020. Council approval of the Vacancy Tax bylaw amendment to change the tax rate is also still needed.

How to submit a declaration:

There are a number of ways that residential property owners can easily submit their Empty Homes Tax declarations, including:

· Online at vancouver.ca/eht-declare. The online declaration process is simple and takes most people only a few minutes to complete.

· In person at City Hall. Residential property owners may visit City Hall where staff will be available to assist them with online declarations. City Hall regular hours are 8:30 am to 5 pm.

· Over the phone by calling 3-1-1. Residential property owners can declare by calling 3-1-1 between 7 am and 10 pm daily (outside Vancouver: 604-873-7000) and speaking to a citizen service representative. Translation services are also available at 3-1-1.

· Residential property owners can receive technical and information support for submitting their online declaration at any Vancouver Public Library location. For opening hours and locations visit vpl.ca/hours-locations.

Most properties will not be subject to the Empty Homes Tax, including in the following circumstances:

· When a property is used as a principal residence by the owner, his / her family member or friend, or other permitted occupier for at least six months of the year

· The home is rented for residential purposes for at least six months of the year in periods of 30 or more consecutive days, or

· The property meets the criteria for one of the eight exemptions.

The main objective of the Empty Homes Tax is to return empty or under-utilized properties to use as long-term rental homes for people who live and work in Vancouver. In addition, all revenue from the tax ― after costs ― is designated to fund affordable housing initiatives.

The City of Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax is separate from the provincial government’s Speculation and Vacancy Tax; inquiries regarding the province’s tax may be directed to [email protected] or by calling 1-833-554-2323.

For more information or to make a declaration, visit vancouver.ca/eht.

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