The Speculation and Vacancy Tax (SVT) was introduced by the NDP Government of British Columbia in 2018. This Tax is different from the empty homes tax in the City of Vancouver.

The tax targets those, Foreign and Canadians, who own residential property in select area’s of British Columbia. The area’s include:

Following are the designated taxable regions, including maps for each region. The maps are for your convenience only. Please refer to the legislation for details.

  • Municipalities within the Capital Regional District. This excludes Salt Spring Island, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, and the Southern Gulf Islands
  • Municipalities within the Metro Vancouver Regional District, excluding Bowen Island, the Village of Lions Bay and Electoral Area A, but including UBC and the University Endowment Lands
  • The City of Abbotsford
  • The District of Mission
  • The City of Chilliwack
  • The City of Kelowna 
  • The City of West Kelowna
  • The City of Nanaimo
  • The District of Lantzville
  • Reserve lands, treaty lands and lands of self-governing Indigenous Nations are not part of the taxable regions.

Islands that are accessible only by air or water are not part of the taxable regions.

Some residential properties are excluded from the speculation and vacancy tax even though they are located within a taxable region. These include residential properties owned by:

  • An Indigenous Nation
  • Municipalities, regional districts, governments and other public bodies
  • Registered charities
  • Housing co-ops
  • Certain not-for-profit organizations

The SVT rate varies depending on the owner’s tax residency. In addition, the tax rate varies based on whether the owner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, or a satellite family.

For 2018, the tax rate is:

  • 0.5% of the property’s assessed value for all properties subject to the tax

For 2019 and subsequent years, the tax rate is:

  • 2% for foreign owners and satellite families
  • 0.5% for Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada who are not members of a satellite family

The speculation and vacancy tax applies based on ownership as of December 31 each year.

A speculation and vacancy tax year is the same as a calendar year. Tax levied on December 31 is due the following July. For example, for a property owned as of December 31, 2018, the 2018 tax rate of 0.5% applies and the tax is due on July 2, 2019.

All those who own residential property will receive a letter in the mail by the end of February with instructions on how to complete a declaration and register an exemption online. To qualify, this application must be completed by March 31, 2019. The opt-out process will become an annual event for property owners under the new speculation tax rules.