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

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Accessibility improvements and more classrooms at the Houston Christian School should be completed by the new school year. (Houston Today photo)
Accessibility improvements coming to Houston Christian School

Construction package includes two classrooms

The soft opening of the nature centre at the Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery took place mid-April. (Angelique Houlihan photo/Houston Today)
Houston hatchery and nature centre’s upcoming events

The conservation group to host summer students this year

Council wants a say in the expansion of long term care services in Smithers. Pictured here is the Bulkley Lodge facility in that community. (Google photo)
Long term care remains on council priority list

Wants to be involved in expansion plans in Smithers

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Most Read