Residential property owners who own homes in communities where the speculation and vacancy tax (SVT) applies will soon receive their declaration packages in the mail, starting Jan. 19.
And expect Coquitlam residents to shell out the largest amount of the tax based on property ownership.
Recent statistics compiled by the B.C. government found Coquitlam the hardest hit by the SVT although it is the largest city in the Tri-Cities.
Coquitlam topped the list for SVT taxes payable in 2020 at $2.2 million, Port Moody at $673,000 followed by Port Coquitlam at $326,000, Belcarra at $164,000 and Anmore $150,000.
Coquitlam had the largest number of non-exempt property owners, at 217 including 48 B.C. residents, 13 other Canadian residents, 82 foreign owners, 36 satellite families, eight other and 30 mixed.
There were 67,627 exempt property owners in the city, and the top three reasons for exemptions were B.C. resident (56,593); the property was occupied by a tenant (14,545); or recently acquired or inherited (961).
Port Coquitlam had the second largest number of owners required to pay the tax, at 44, including nine B.C. residents, eight foreign owners, 10 satellite families and 17 mixed.
There were 30,511 exempt property owners in the city, and the top three reasons for exemptions were B.C. resident (26,803); occupied by a tenant (4,646); and recently acquired or inherited (336).
Port Moody had the third largest number of homeowners required to pay the tax, at 35 including 10 B.C. residents, 10 foreign owners, seven satellite families and eight mixed.
There were 17,677 exempt property owners, and the top reasons for exemption were B.C. resident (14,921); occupied by a tenant (3,114); and recently acquired or inherited (154).
While Coquitlam homeowners paid the most SVT in the region, comparatively, the city paid far less than Burnaby, where the tax collected was estimated at more than $5 million; in Richmond, homeowners paid about $10 million.
The province implemented the SVT in 2018 to reduce the number of vacant homes and free them up for rentals. The money is meant to be used for housing, shelter or rental projects within the region it is paid.
All told, between Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra, 22,469 properties were declared as rentals.
Also in Belcarra, 43 properties were declared exempt because they are only accessible by water.
TAX DECLARATION PROCESS
Meanwhile, residents of Port Moody, Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam can expect to get this year’s SVT declarations packages by Jan. 27, according to the Ministry of Finance.
Owners can complete their declaration as soon as they receive their package. The declaration takes less than 10 minutes to complete for most property owners. The quickest way to complete a declaration is online at: https://gov.bc.ca/spectax
More than 99.9% of British Columbians are exempt from paying the tax, but residential property owners in the taxable regions have to declare.
MARCH 31 DEADLINE
All owners on the title, including spouses and relatives, must complete a declaration in order to claim an exemption or to determine eligibility for a tax credit. Corporations must also complete a declaration for all residential properties in taxable regions.
All required declarations must be completed by March 31. If owners are not exempt, they must pay their assessed amount by July 2. Starting this year, a penalty may be applied on all owners who do not pay tax amounts by the due date.
If people have questions or need help completing their declaration over the phone, they can call: 833-554-2323 (toll-free in Canada and the U.S.) or 604-660-2421 (international), Monday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Pacific time). Service is available in multiple languages.
If homeowners do not receive a declaration package and believe they should have, they are encouraged to contact the SVT call centre to request a package.
— with files from the Burnaby Now