Finance Minister Carole James has faced questions for weeks about the effect of a new property tax on vacation homes. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Pressure on Carole James to ease B.C. speculation tax

Vacation home owners plead for relief from vacant home levy

As B.C. Finance Minister Carole James prepares changes to the speculation tax she announced in her February budget, protests continue to come forward from people hit with steep new costs for their vacation homes.

Dave Pentland of Surrey says he is looking at a 500 per cent increase on his share of a Salt Spring Island vacation property he and his brother inherited. He calculates that his tax bill for the property would go from $1,849 to $9,284, which is nearly a quarter of his retirement income.

He says he and his brother are not speculators, and want to keep the property in the family.

“The NDP’s speculation tax has really left me with one option,” Pentland said. “Pay the tax until the next election and hope for a change in government. If the government does not change then I cut my losses, hand the keys to my brother and walk away.”

Retirees Tom Stewart and his wife sold their “modest home” in Ontario and bought a condo there and an apartment in Oak Bay where they spend half the year. Stewart says the proposed two per cent surtax on the apartment will cost at least $5,000 a year, which they can’t afford on their retirement income.

The couple has relatives in Ontario and don’t want to try to find a new doctor if they move to B.C. full time to avoid the tax. And the strata corporation that runs their Oak Bay apartment doesn’t allow rentals.

“It is frustrating that our retirement dream is being quashed almost from the outset,” Stewart said. “We are pretty far removed from the alleged target of the legislation.”

RELATED: Arizona snowbirds ‘pushed out’ of summer homes

James is expected to announce changes to the tax Monday afternoon.

As originally announced in the B.C. budget Feb. 20, the speculation tax would be charged to out-of-province residents who inherited a family summer or ski cabin, if it is in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Nanaimo or Capital Regional District, or the municipalities of Kelowna and West Kelowna.

It is to begin at 0.5 per cent of property value, rising to two per cent later. People who pay income tax in B.C. would receive a tax credit, but some say they don’t have enough income to cover the cost of the speculation tax.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

Highlights and results from day 5 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 6: Preview

Look ahead to all the action scheduled for Feb. 16 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 4: Recap

Results and highlights from day 4 at the 2019 All Native Basketball Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 3: Recap

Highlights from around Day 3 of the tournament

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read