The Vancouver Empty Homes Tax is a tax on empty homes in the City of Vancouver. All homeowners in Vancouver are required to complete a declaration at the beginning of each calendar year, which will determine if your home is subject to the tax. The Empty Homes Tax was launched in 2017 and city revenues from the tax are reinvested into building affordable housing initiatives.
For the 2020 reference year (January 1 -December 31, 2020), if your property is deemed to be an empty home, you will be required to pay a 1.25% tax on the assessed value of your property. Reference years prior to 2020 were subject to a 1.00% empty home tax.
For example, a property deemed to be empty with an assessed value of $1M will be subject to a $12,500 Vancouver empty home tax for the reference year of 2020.
Vancouver homeowners are responsible for both the Vancouver Empty Homes Tax and the British Columbia Speculation and Vacancy Tax.
All residential homeowners in Vancouver are required to complete a declaration for the empty home tax each year, but most will be exempt from paying the tax due to common exemptions. You can find out if you need to pay the empty home tax by completing the Empty Homes Tax Questionnaire.
Common exemptions include:
All property owners in Vancouver must complete the Empty Homes Tax Declaration by February for the previous reference year and pay any outstanding balance by April. For example, for the 2020 reference year, you would be required to complete the declaration by February 2021 and pay any outstanding balances by April 2021. You can complete your declaration on the City of Vancouver’s website.
You will need to provide the following to complete your declaration:
You can find your folio number and access code on your property tax notice
There are many options available if your property is vacant or not lived in for most of the year that can help you make the most of your property and save on tax.
For example, you can choose to:
Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax was first launched in 2017 to return vacant homes to the rental market for people who live and work in Vancouver. After the launch of the EHT, more people are choosing to sell or rent out their homes, and this increases the number of homes available for rent. Since then, the City of Vancouver has seen year-over year improvement as the number of empty homes has decreased and the number of homes available for rent have increased. In 2019, the number of properties declared as vacant was 787, down 15% from 922 vacant properties in 2018, and also down 30% from 1131 vacancies in 2017. The number of condos being rented out in 2019 is up 21% from the same metric in 2018.
The City of Vancouver also uses revenue from the EHT to fund affordable rental projects and modular housing programs in Vancouver that help to address the homelessness crisis. In 2019, the Empty Homes Tax brought in $39.4 million in tax revenues for the City of Vancouver.
Any questions regarding the Empty Homes Tax can be directed to the City of Vancouver online or by calling 604-873-7000.