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Empty Homes Tax enters fourth year, with 25% fewer vacant properties since launch

Owners required to declare 2020 property status by February 2, 2021

November 24 2020 –

Vancouver property owners can now start making their Empty Homes Tax (EHT) property status declarations for the 2020 tax year. Residential property owners are required to complete a declaration, even if they live in their property or rent it out.

Declaration instructions being mailed out

Declaration instructions are being mailed out to all property owners over the coming weeks, along with their advance property tax notice. Owners have until February 2, 2021, to make their annual declaration. Only one declaration per property is required.

Declarations can be made quickly and easily online. If you require help, call us on 3-1-1 or chat live with an advisor on our website. We continue to encourage homeowners to register for their online services account, where they can view tax notices before they reach them in the mail, and other important tax information.

Number of vacant properties down 25% since launch

The EHT was introduced to encourage property owners to make their empty and under-used properties available as rental homes. Figures released today, in the 2019 Empty Homes Tax Annual Report, demonstrate that the tax is working.

A 25% reduction in the number of vacant properties was recorded from 2017 to 2019. Another key indicator we track is the year-over-year conversion of vacant properties to occupied status. Of the 1,989 properties declared vacant in 2018, 41% were converted to occupied in 2019. 

Since launching, $61.3 million of revenues generated by the EHT have been allocated to support affordable housing initiatives in Vancouver. One example of this is the allocation of $25 million to the 2019-2022 Community Housing Incentive Program, which aims to provide non-profit housing providers with grants to make social and co-op housing projects more affordable. Learn more about these initiatives, and take an in-depth look at the statistics behind the tax, in our annual report (840 KB).

Late declarations for previous years

For the 2017 and 2018 tax years, there is a one-time extension for late declarations which are being accepted up until December 31, 2020. From 2019 onwards, late declarations can be made in the form of a Notice of Complaint up to the second business day in July of the year following the regular declaration deadline.

Our Empty Homes Tax is separate from the provincial government’s Speculation and Vacancy Tax; inquiries regarding the province’s tax may be directed to gov.bc.ca/spectax or by calling 1-833-554-2323.