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 property status declaration at the beginning of each calendar year by the start of February, which will determine if your home is subject to the tax. Generally, your home will be subject to the empty homes tax if it was unoccupied in the previous calendar year; however, there are several exemptions to this. The City of Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax was launched in 2017 and city revenues from the tax are reinvested into building affordable housing initiatives.
The City of Vancouver recently announced that the Vancouver Empty Home Tax will increase to 3% in 2021 compared to 1.25% in 2020. This new rate will apply to all applicable properties in the 2021 reference year from January 1st, 2021 to December 31st, 2021. Our calculator has been updated for the new tax rate.
For the 2021 reference year (January 1-December 31, 2021), if your property was declared as empty, you will be required to pay a 3% tax on the assessed value of your property. For the 2020 reference year, (January 1-December 31, 2020), the empty homes tax rate remained unchanged at 1.25%.
|Empty Homes Tax Rate||1%||1.25%||3%|
For example, a property deemed to be empty with an assessed value of $1M will be subject to a 3%, or $30,000, Vancouver empty home tax for the reference year of 2021.
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.