Empty Home Tax and Speculation

The following  information is about  EMPTY HOMES TAX:

Each year, home owners in Vancouver are required to submit a property status declaration to determine if their property is subject to the Empty Homes Tax.

Property owners must complete their declaration by February 4, 2019.

The declaration should take five minutes to complete. You’ll need:

Most homes won’t be subject to the tax, as it doesn’t apply to principal residences or homes rented for at least six months of the year.

Properties found to be empty will be subject to a tax of one per cent of the property’s 2018 assessed taxable value.


Property status declarations will be subject to an audit process. If your property is selected for an audit, you’ll be asked to provide evidence in support of your declaration.

False declarations will result in fines of up to $10,000 per day of the continuing offence, in addition to payment of the tax.

The BC government’s Speculation and Vacancy Tax is a separate tax in addition to the Vancouver Empty Homes Tax.

Learn more about the Empty Homes Tax

If you have questions, phone 3-1-1. Outside Vancouver: 604-873-7000.

The following information is about  BC SPECULATION and VACANCY TAX  (SVT):

From January 18 to Feb. 28, 2019,residential property owners in areas subject to the BC Speculation and Vacancy Tax (SVT) will receive a letter with instructions on how to complete a declaration and register an exemption.

Areas subject to the SVT

  • Municipalities within the Metro Vancouver Regional District, excluding Bowen Island, the Village of Lions Bay, and Electoral Area A, but including the University of British Columbia and the University Endowment Lands
  • Municipalities within the Capital Regional District excluding: Salt Spring Island, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, and the Southern Gulf Islands
  • The City of Abbotsford
  • The District of Mission
  • The City of Chilliwack
  • The City of Kelowna 
  • The City of West Kelowna
  • The City of Nanaimo
  • The District of Lantzville

Completing the declaration

All property owners living in areas subject to the tax must complete the SVT declaration and register to claim an exemption. More information is available at www.gov.bc.ca/spectax.

If a residential property has more than one owner, even if the other owner is a spouse, a separate declaration must be made by each owner.

A property owner in an area where the SVT applies who doesn’t receive a registration package by the end of February should phone the SVT contact centre at 1-833-554-2323 (toll-free Canada/U.S.) or 604-660-2421 (international).

Deadline March 31, 2019

Owners must register and complete their declaration for an exemption by March 31. 2019.

Residential property owners who don’t complete their declaration before April 1, 2019, will receive a notice of tax assessment.

Tax payable

Owners of non-exempt property have until July 2, 2019 to pay their assessed tax.

For 2018, the tax rate is:

  • 0.5% of the property’s assessed value for all properties subject to the tax

For 2019 and subsequent years, the tax rate is:

The speculation and vacancy tax apply as of December 31 each year.

The speculation and vacancy tax year is the same as the calendar year. Tax levied on December 31 is due the following July. For example, for a property owned as of December 31, 2018, the 2018 tax rate of 0.5 per cent applies and the tax is due on July 2, 2019.


There are exemptions to the SVT for:

The government’s rationale for the tax is:

  • It targets foreign and domestic speculators who own homes in BC but do not pay tax here,
  • It turns empty homes into housing, and
  • It raises revenue for supporting affordable housing.

All revenues raised through the SVT will support affordable housing initiatives in communities where the tax applies.

Subscribe to receive updates about the SVT.