Chamber opposes speculation tax

The Peachland Chamber of Commerce and its Board of Directors would like to express that we are AGAINST the implementation of the Speculation Tax.

The Speculation Tax will target foreign and domestic speculators in BC. These are homeowners who have removed their units from BC’s long-term housing stock – meaning they are not owner-occupied or a qualifying long-term rental property. Satellite families – households with high worldwide income that pay little income tax in BC – will also be captured by the tax.

The Speculation Tax will initially apply to the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Capital and Nanaimo Regional Districts and in the municipalities of Kelowna and West Kelowna.

Essentially, the government is ‘arbitrarily’ telling residents that if they bought a property for their personal use, on a less than full time basis, the government has the right to tax them. This won’t create more rental properties, as the government thinks, it will simply force people to sell their properties and go elsewhere. If our fellow Canadians are forced to sell their second homes, there is no guarantee that these homes would be purchased to use and rentals. This will result in a huge loss to the tourist industry, have a negative impact on real estate values and not solve rental shortages.

Owners of second homes are used as family getaways. These people all contribute to the local economies when they are here and they already pay higher property taxes than local residents because they don’t receive the “BC Homeowner’s Grant”.

Owners of condos and townhouses sometimes cannot even rent their home, even if they wanted to, due to Strata rules. The government states if the unit is rented (a signed lease for a year) they are exempt from paying and then can’t use it for their families.

The two per cent annual tax amounts to several thousands of dollars a year per home in addition to the taxes they are already paying to the municipality. A $700,000 condo or home could have to pay $14,000 extra per year!

This tax was poorly conceived and aimed at foreigner buyers who purchase property in Vancouver and subsequently leave the property empty aka ‘parking money’, creating empty condo towers. However, most of the buyers who own second homes in communities like Kelowna, West Kelowna and the Gulf Islands arenot speculators. They are people who love coming to these areas to vacation with their families. This tax will create an economic crash in the Okanagan and would take years to recover – if ever.

We must get this tax changed immediately. We are suggesting that if you must have a Speculation Tax that you ONLY tax foreign buyers across the entire province of BC and exclude our Canadian citizens from it.

If you would like to send a letter to share your thoughts or concerns on the Speculation Tax, please do so. It’s important that you are heard.

Premier John Horgan

250-387-1715-Premier@gov.bc.ca

Carole James, Finance Minister

250-387-3751-FIN.Minister@gov.bc.ca

MLA Ben Stewart

250-768-8426-Ben.Stewart.MLA@leg.bc.ca

MLA Steve Thomson

250-712-3620-steve.thomson.MLA@leg.bc.ca

MLA Norm Letnick

250-765-8516-norm.letnick.MLA@leg.bc.ca

MLA Andrew Weaver, Green Party Leader

250-472-8528 andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca

MLA Selina Robinson, Housing Minister

250-387-2283 selina.robinson.MLA@leg.bc.ca

Signed & written on behalf of the Peachland Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

 

Patrick Van Minsel, Executive Director

Peachland Chamber of Commerce

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