Empty Homes Tax declarations in Vancouver due in less than one week


Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Patrice Impey, CFO and General Manager of Finance, Risk and Supply Chain Management.

A total of 11 per cent of Vancouver homeowners have not yet submitted their Empty Homes Tax declarations and only have four days left before the February 2 deadline or their properties will be deemed vacant and subject to the Empty Homes Tax.
To date, 89 per cent of all residential property owners have submitted declarations and the City said on Monday it would like to thank those who have declared early and urged the remaining 11 per cent to complete the process prior to February 2 by going online to vancouver.ca/eht-declare <http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/declare-property-status.aspx>, calling 3-1-1 or visiting City Hall.
“It’s unacceptable for so many homes to be sitting empty or under-occupied in Vancouver when people who live and work here are struggling to find secure and affordable housing,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The Empty Homes Tax is one of the most important tools that we’ve introduced to help address the housing crisis, which is impacting individuals and families across all neighbourhoods in our city. With the declaration deadline just around the corner, we want to strongly encourage homeowners to declare in order to avoid unnecessary penalties.”
Residential property owners who fail to declare by February 2 (Friday) will have their properties deemed vacant and will be subject to the Empty Homes Tax at a rate of one per cent of the property’s 2017 assessed taxable value. They will also be subject to a $250 penalty for non-declaration.
“It’s important that all owners of Class 1 Residential property in Vancouver are aware they are required to submit a declaration by February 2, or their property will be subject to the tax and additional penalties,” said Patrice Impey, Chief Financial Officer and General Manager, Finance, Risk and Supply Chain Management. “Even if a homeowner occupies their property as their principal residence, rents the home to tenants, or is eligible for an exemption, they are still required to submit a declaration so the City can determine whether the Empty Homes Tax applies to them.”
The City recently initiated the audit program for the Empty Homes Tax in order to ensure homeowners are compliant with the new tax. The audit program, which is in line with best practices of provincial and federal taxation authorities, utilizes a risk based approach as well as random audits. If homeowners’ properties are selected for audit, they will be notified by a letter requesting they provide information or evidence to support their declaration. False property status declarations may result in fines of up to $10,000 per day of the continuing offense, in addition to payment of the tax.

How to submit a declaration:

There are a number of ways that property owners can easily submit their Empty Homes Tax property status declarations, including:
* Online at vancouver.ca/eht-declare <http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/declare-property-status.aspx>. The online declaration process is simple and takes most people only a few minutes to complete.
* In person at City Hall. Residential property owners may visit City Hall where staff will be available to assist them with online declarations. City Hall regular hours are 8:30am to 5pm and are extended this Thursday, February 1 to 8pm to assist homeowners with making their declarations.
* Over the phone by calling 3-1-1. Homeowners can declare by calling 3-1-1 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily (outside Vancouver: 604-873-7000) and speaking to a citizen service representative. Homeowners who require a translator to submit their declaration can call 3-1-1 to access translation services.
* Residential property owners can receive technical and information support for submitting their online declaration at any Vancouver Public Library location. For opening hours and locations visit vpl.ca/hours-locations <http://www.vpl.ca/hours-locations>.

As part of the City’s Housing Vancouver strategy, the Empty Homes Tax aims to return empty or under-used residential properties back into the rental pool to use as long-term rental homes for the people who live and work in Vancouver. The initiative was created to help relieve pressure on Vancouver’s rental housing market as the city is in the midst of a severe housing crisis with one of the lowest rental vacancy rates and the highest rental costs in Canada. Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax is the first of its kind in Canada, an innovative policy initiative being followed closely by other municipalities across the country.
More information on the Housing Vancouver strategy, and the other actions the City is taking to address the housing crisis, can be found at vancouver.ca/housing <http://vancouver.ca/people-programs/housing-and-homelessness.aspx>.
For more information on the Empty Homes Tax, visit vancouver.ca/eht <http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/empty-homes-tax.aspx>.