Property buyers, including real estate speculators, will have to disclose more complete information

Carole James
Photo: Vinnie Combow

AS part of the Province’s 30-point plan for housing affordability, property buyers – including real estate speculators – will have to disclose more complete information when they make purchases through a corporation or trust.

“Our government has been clear that the days of skirting tax laws and hiding property ownership behind numbered companies and trusts are over. Not only is tax evasion in real estate fundamentally unfair, but it’s driving up the cost of housing for people who live and work in our communities,” said Finance Minister Carole James on Wednesday. “These changes give authorities another tool to make sure people are paying the taxes they owe.”

Starting September 17, the new property transfer tax return will require people to report additional information when a transaction is structured through a corporation or trust. This will allow government to identify people with a significant interest in the property, and ensure the correct amount of tax is paid. The updated return will require the following additional information:

* Name

* Date of birth

* Citizenship information

* Contact details

* Tax identification numbers (such as a social insurance number)

The new reporting requirements will apply to all property types, including residential and commercial. There will be exemptions for certain trusts, such as charitable trusts, and certain corporations, such as hospitals, schools and libraries.

This change complements other actions the B.C. government is taking to address tax fraud and close loopholes in the real estate market, including:

* Consulting on legislation to establish a new, publicly accessible registry of who owns real estate in B.C.

* Introducing a new law to track pre-sale condominium contract assignments, and prevent tax evasion.

* Sharing information on the homeowner grant with federal tax officials to improve tax enforcement.

* Strengthening property transfer tax auditors’ abilities to take action on tax evasion.

* Establishing a federal-provincial working group on tax fraud and money laundering.