The deadline for Vancouver homeowners to declare whether or not their home is occupied is this Friday, Feb. 2, 2018.
Those who fail to declare or who declare that their home is unoccupied will be subject to the empty homes tax of 1 per cent tax on the assessed taxable value of their home.
Here’s five things to know about the tax, the deadline and what’s next.
What happens if I miss the deadline?
A homeowner who fails to make a declaration by the deadline will be charged a $250 penalty and their property will be deemed vacant and subject to the 1 per cent tax.
A homeowner who makes a false declaration could be fined up to $10,000 per day the declaration is not corrected, as well as being subject to the 1 per cent tax. Those who are late making payments or who do not pay their empty homes tax will be subject to a late payment penalty of 5 per cent, daily interest on arrears and the tax sale process.
How will the city know if my declaration is accurate?
Declarations for both empty and occupied homes could be picked for random audits. If a property is selected for an audit, the homeowner will have to provide proof that their declaration is accurate.
If picked for an audit, how can I prove that I live in my home or that I have a tenant?
If the homeowner resides in the property, proof can be in the form of ICBC vehicle insurance and registration, government-issued personal ID, an MSP invoice, tax returns or notices of assessment, an employment contract or pay stub or insurance certificate for homeowner’s insurance. (The occupant’s personal information must be registered to the property’s address; if not, the homeowner could still fail the audit.)
If the property is rented out by a tenant, proof can be in the form of a tenant agreement, income tax returns or notices of assessment showing rental income, bank statements that show rental income, insurance certificates for tenants insurance or information from a long-term tenant that states they are occupying your home.
What if I made a mistake on my declaration, I missed the deadline or the city says my home is empty but it isn’t?
Homeowners who miss the deadline, made a mistake in their declaration or who left out information in their declaration can file a notice of complaint. Notice of complaints will not be accepted until March 15, 2018.
If the city deems a home to be empty and the homeowner disagrees, they can also submit a notice of complaint beginning March 15.
What if my property is empty because I can’t find a tenant? Can I be exempt from the tax?
There will be no exemptions for homes that are unoccupied because the homeowner wasn’t able to find a tenant. The city encourages owners to lower their asking rental price until they are able to find a tenant.