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Empty Homes Tax declarations due in less than one week

January 29 2018 Residential property owners urged to declare now to avoid unnecessary fines and penalties.

“It’s unacceptable for so many homes to be sitting empty or under-occupied in Vancouver when people who live and work here are struggling to find secure and affordable housing,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Hands typing on laptop keyboard in highrise. Highrise condos in the background.

A total of 11% of Vancouver homeowners have not yet submitted their Empty Homes Tax declarations and only have four days left before the February 2 deadline or their properties will be deemed vacant and subject to the Empty Homes Tax.

To date, 89% of all residential property owners have submitted declarations, and we would like to thank those who have declared early and urge the remaining 11% to complete the process prior to February 2 by:

  • Going online
  • Calling 3-1-1
  • Visiting City Hall

“It’s unacceptable for so many homes to be sitting empty or under-occupied in Vancouver when people who live and work here are struggling to find secure and affordable housing,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The Empty Homes Tax is one of the most important tools that we’ve introduced to help address the housing crisis, which is impacting individuals and families across all neighbourhoods in our city. With the declaration deadline just around the corner, we want to strongly encourage homeowners to declare in order to avoid unnecessary penalties.”

If you fail to declare by February 2

If you fail to declare by February 2, 2018, you will have your property deemed vacant and be subject to the Empty Homes Tax at a rate of 1% of the property’s 2017 assessed taxable value. You will also be subject to a $250 penalty for non-declaration.

“It’s important that all owners of Class 1 Residential property in Vancouver are aware they are required to submit a declaration by February 2, or their property will be subject to the tax and additional penalties,” said Patrice Impey, Chief Financial Officer and General Manager, Finance, Risk & Supply Chain Management. “Even if a homeowner occupies their property as their principal residence, rents the home to tenants, or is eligible for an exemption, they are still required to submit a declaration so the City can determine whether the Empty Homes Tax applies to them.”

Audit program

We recently initiated the audit program for the Empty Homes Tax to ensure homeowners are compliant with the new tax. The audit program, which is in line with best practices of provincial and federal taxation authorities, utilizes a risk based approach as well as random audits.

If you are selected for audit

If you are selected for audit, you will be notified by a letter requesting you provide information or evidence to support your declaration. False property status declarations may result in fines of up to $10,000 per day of the continuing offense, in addition to payment of the tax.

How to submit a declaration

There are a number of ways you can easily submit your Empty Homes Tax property status declarations, including:

  • Online. The online declaration process is simple and takes most people only a few minutes to complete.
  • In person at City Hall. Visit City Hall where staff will be available to assist you with online declarations. City Hall regular hours are 8:30am to 5pm and are extended this Thursday, February 1 to 8pm to assist homeowners with making their declarations.
  • Over the phone by calling 3-1-1. You can declare by calling 3-1-1 between 7am to 10pm daily (outside Vancouver: 604-873-7000) and speaking to a citizen service representative. If you require a translator to submit your declaration, call 3-1-1 to access translation services.
  • Get technical and information support for submitting your online declaration at any Vancouver Public Library location. View opening hours and locations

Submit declaration

Housing Vancouver strategy

As part of the our Housing Vancouver strategy, the Empty Homes Tax aims to return empty or under-used residential properties back into the rental pool to use as long-term rental homes for the people who live and work in Vancouver.

Learn more about the Housing Vancouver strategy, and the other actions we are taking to address the housing crisis.

Why an Empty Homes Tax

The initiative was created to help relieve pressure on Vancouver’s rental housing market as the city is in the midst of a severe housing crisis with one of the lowest rental vacancy rates and the highest rental costs in Canada. Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax is the first of its kind in Canada, an innovative policy initiative being followed closely by other municipalities across the country.