B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. to remove speculation ‘air tax’ passed on to commercial tenants

Tax applies to empty space above property because it’s vacant

The B.C. government is offering to remove the speculation and vacancy tax being assessed on the empty space above urban properties that is being passed on to commercial tenants in the actual buildings on the property.

The NDP government has been criticized for assessing the speculation tax on unbuilt structures based on the zoning of the property allowing higher buildings, which some landlords are passing on to commercial tenants. Finance Minister Selina Robinson announced Thursday that the province will waive one year of what has become known as the “air tax” for a small number of property owners that meet a list of conditions and apply for remission.

“We don’t believe that tenants should have these costs passed on to them by landlords,” Robinson said April 29. “We will temporarily remove the speculation and vacancy tax liability for 2020 for property owners that meet certain conditions. Both property owners and tenants can now apply for the remission to ensure the people we are trying to help, the tenants, don’t have to wait for the owner to apply.”

Robinson told reporters at the B.C. legislature her ministry is working on a permanent fix to stop property owners from rezoning the space above their commercial properties to residential, which lowers the property tax, but not building the units allowed by the zoning.

The speculation and vacancy tax has been added to property tax in these situations, sparking protests from tenants who say the tax is being passed on to their lease payments. Robinson says there are fewer than 100 landlords who are passing on the costs.

Tenants or landlords seeking an exemption for the 2020 tax are told to contact the finance ministry at 1-833-554-2323 to apply. It is for leases entered into before April 29, 2021, for a property that contains vacant residential space along with a class five or six commercial tenant.

RELATED: NDP defends ‘air tax’ on unbuilt properties, slow business aid

RELATED: Speculation tax doesn’t cool B.C.’s hot housing market


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsspeculation tax

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a special ceremony, former Armstrong Elementary School teacher of 41 years, Helen Sidney, centre, donates $100,000 to the school. (SD83)
Retired Armstrong teacher continues tradition of supporting students with $100K donation

Helen Sidney, who taught at AES for 41 years, made an incredible donation ahead of the school’s centennial

(Black Press file photo)
Detour ahead for Vernon’s 18th Street

The week-long detour in the Crescent Park area will be in effect starting Monday, May 10

Lake Country firefighters assisted the RCMP on Kalamalka Lake Tuesday, May 4. (Fire Department file photo)
Lake Country RCMP interrupt houseboat break-in

Pair in their 30s arrested but no charges laid after alleged Kalamalka Lake incident

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

The Allan Brooks Nature Centre in Vernon will hold a two-day plant sale fundraiser, run completely by the centre’s volunteers, Saturday and Sunday, May 15 and 16. (ABNC photo)
Vernon nature centre pots plant sale fundraiser

Two-day event by the Allan Brooks Nature Centre runs Saturday and Sunday, May 15 and 16

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The Primary Urgent Care Centre on Martin Street officially opened on March 31, 2021. (Brennan Phillips)
Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District reverses funding decision on care centre

Approval now granted to fund $1 million for Urgent and Primary Care Centre in Penticton

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin checking drivers on BC highways

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
New temporary outdoor shelter in Kelowna opens

The new area on Richter Street and Weddell Place replaces the Baillie Avenue site

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read