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Whether you own or plan to purchase or sell residential property in the City of Vancouver, you’ll need to be aware of the new annual one percent Empty Homes Tax, also known as the Vacancy Tax.

The Empty Homes Tax will apply if, for more than 180 days of the year, the property is:

  1. not used as a principal residence (the place where an individual usually lives); or
  2. not rented to a tenant living in the property.

For example, if the tax applies and your property has an assessed value of $1 million, the tax would be $10,000.

Current homeowners

Owners must submit a property status declaration each year. The City mails the form to the registered owner each year. Failure to submit your declaration by the deadline will result in your property being deemed vacant and charged the Empty Homes Tax as well as a fine.

Buyers

Be proactive because if the seller does not submit the declaration or otherwise pay the tax, then the buyer must pay it. A buyer can submit the declaration, and claim an exemption if applicable, before the deadline if ownership was transferred on or before December 31 of the prior year.

If the buyer does not plan on living in the property as a “principal residence” or renting the property out, then the buyer should be prepared to pay the tax unless an exemption applies.

Sellers

If the property has been sold, then the seller can only submit the declaration before the transfer. Only the current registered owner can submit a declaration, or provide any related submission. Once a registered owner has submitted a declaration, additional owners will not be able to submit a second declaration for that year.

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