What is Empty Homes Tax and Vacancy Tax?

What is Empty Homes Tax and Vacancy Tax?

The Empty Homes Tax and the Vacancy Tax are similar in that they are both designed to turn empty homes into long-term housing for people who live and work in Vancouver. They also ensure foreign owners and those with primarily foreign income contribute fairly to British Columbia’s tax system.

Vancouver homeowners may be required to pay one or both taxes, so be sure to submit declarations for both the Empty Home Tax and the Vacancy Tax. Even if you live in your home, you must make these declarations every year.


How Does the Empty Homes Tax Work?

Vancouver residential homeowners are required to submit a declaration each year to determine if your property is subject to the Empty Homes Tax. If your property is deemed or declared empty in the 2021 reference year, it will be subject to a tax of 3% of the property’s 2021 assessed taxable value. 

Properties Not Subject to the Empty Homes Tax

Most properties will not be subject to the Empty Homes Tax, including those:

  • Used as a principal residence by the owner, their family member or friend, or other permitted occupier for at least six months of the year.

  • Rented for residential purposes for at least six months of the year, in periods of 30 or more consecutive days.

  • Meeting the criteria for one of the exemptions.

To read the exemptions and more FAQs regarding the Empty Homes Tax, go HERE.

How To Submit Your Empty Homes Tax Declaration

Only one declaration is required per property. For example: if you co-own a property, only one owner needs to declare.

If you fail to declare your home’s status by the deadline, your property will be deemed vacant and subject to the Empty Homes Tax of 3% of its assessed taxable value for the previous tax year, and a $250 by-law ticket.

You may give permission for someone else to submit your declaration on your behalf.

Declaration Timeline

  • Previous years' unpaid tax added to property tax bill: December 31, 2021

  • Declaration Deadline: February 2, 2022

  • Empty Homes Tax Payment for 2021 Deadline: April 14, 2022


What You Need to Submit Your Declaration 



How Does the Vacancy Tax Work?

The Vacancy Tax is an annual tax based on how owners use residential properties in major urban areas in B.C. Like the Empty Homes Tax, homeowners are required to submit their Vacancy Tax declaration every year to declare their residency status and how their property has been used.

This annual tax is based on:

  • How property owners use their residential property

  • The property owner’s residency status

  • Where property owners earn and report their income

If a property has more than one owner, a separate declaration must be made for each owner, even if the other owner is your spouse or relative.

Because this tax is based on how each owner uses the property and whether they have foreign income, each owner on title needs to declare separately.

Most homes will not be subject to the tax as it does not apply to principal residences, homes that qualify for an exemption, or homes rented for at least six months of the year.

You need to declare your residency status, whether you pay taxes in Canada and how you use your property so that the government can determine:


Declaration Timeline

  • Receive your declaration letter mid-January to mid-February

  • Declare by March 31

  • If you owe tax, pay by the first business day in July


What You Need to Submit Your Declaration

  • Your your Letter ID and Declaration Code, which can be found at the top right corner of your letter

  • Go HERE to submit your declaration

The Vacancy Tax is different from Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax and different rules apply for each one. This means that if you own residential property in the City of Vancouver, you:

  • Must declare separately for each tax

  • May be exempt from one tax but have to pay the other


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