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

Just Posted

This photo of murder victim Paul Prestbakmo was taken on a recent birthday, not far from where he was found with fatal wounds in August 2019. (Cory Brideau photo)
Verdict expected today for youths accused of killing South Surrey mechanic

Paul Prestbakmo was stabbed to death in August 2019

Semiahmoo First Nation archeology manager Don Welsh (left) sifts through shell midden at a Crescent Beach site in August 2019. (File photo)
Semiahmoo First Nation to repatriate 200 ancestors

B.C. grant funding return of remains from Simon Fraser University

The City of Surrey partnered with the Work Zone Safety Alliance last year to remind drivers to slow down in construction zones. (File photo)
White Rock, Surrey motorists asked to slow down in ‘cone zones’

Provincewide campaign encouraging residents to be mindful of construction workers

White Rock RCMP received more than 80 calls for service between Friday and Sunday night (May 14-16, 2021). (Aaron Hinks file photo)
White Rock beachgoers fined for fires, public intoxication

Majority of weekend visitors were well-behaved, police say

Fraser Valley Heritage Rail Society volunteers stand on the train platform in Cloverdale in 2020. A new exhibit about FVHRS and Surrey’s train history opens at the Museum of Surrey June 2. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
New exhibition on Surrey’s train history to open at Museum of Surrey

Separate two-day event welcomes kids June 25-26

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen, with the 100 Mile House RCMP. (Melissa Smalley - 100 Mile Free Press)
14-year-old boy killed in serious ATV crash near 100 Mile House

Youth was travelling with a group of peers when the incident occurred last Friday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Relief is coming for B.C.’s struggling tourism sector. (NEWS file photo)
B.C. officials set to announce more support for tourism sector hit hard by pandemic

Non-essential travel is restricted between three regional zones in B.C. until at least May 24

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Nathalie Emmanuel, left, and Vin Diesel in a scene from “F9.” (Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures via AP)
The blockbuster movie is making a comeback this summer

Excitement in the industry is growing again for a return to a big-screen normal

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Most Read