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City releases latest data on Empty Homes Tax

Most Empty Homes Tax exemptions due to properties changing hands, renovation or redevelopment; Majority of Empty Homes Tax declarations made from Canada
Photo Dan Toulgoet
Photo Dan Toulgoet

The majority of homes with an Empty Homes Tax exemption declared were due to the property changing hands or to redevelopment or renovation, according to a press release issued by the City of Vancouver May 25.

“Of the 5,200 properties declared exempt from the tax, the majority of those in Downtown Vancouver and the neighbourhoods surrounding False Creek — Kitsilano, Fairview, Mount Pleasant, Strathcona and Grandview-Woodland — claimed an exemption due to transfer of the property during the year,” the release states.

“Claims for an exemption due to redevelopment or renovation were seen more in the central and west side areas of the city including West Point Grey, Shaughnessy, Kerrisdale, Riley Park/Little Mountain, Kensington-Cedar Cottage, Hastings-Sunrise, and Victoria-Fraserview.”

Breakdown of type for the 5,200 exemptions:

  • 2,480 where the property title transferred during the year
  • 1,560 were under renovation or redevelopment
  • 560 due to strata restrictions on rentals
  • 600 other, including owner in care or death of owner, and occupied for more than180 days for work in Vancouver

City data also reveals the majority of Empty Homes Tax declarations — 95 per cent — were made from Canada. Two per cent made from the United States and three per cent from other countries. This reflects where the property owner was located at the time they made their declaration and does not necessarily reflect their primary residence, according to the city.

The City estimates $30 million will be generated by the tax. Approximately $18 million has been collected to date. The total revenue collected will pay for the one-time implementation costs of $7.5 million and first-year operating costs of $2.5 million for 2018. Remaining revenue will go towards affordable housing initiatives in Vancouver.

The city recently held a workshop to generate ideas about how that money should be spent. Read that story here.

The city is currently auditing of Empty Homes Tax declarations and it's also reviewing disputed tax bills. As a result, the total and net revenue numbers are expected to change over the coming months.

An update on declarations and revenue collection will be provided in the fall of 2018 as part of the first annual report to city council.

Properties for which an Empty Homes Tax declaration was not received by the due date have been deemed vacant and property owners will be charged a $250 penalty. Late or unpaid payments are also subject to a five per cent penalty. If payment is not received by Dec. 31, 2018, the outstanding Empty Homes Tax amount will be added to the property owner’s tax account.

For details about exemption type by neighbourhood, view the map on the city’s website here.

More information about the Empty Homes Tax can be found here.