British Columbia is known for its high cost of living, and one thing that contributes to that are high taxes and fees. But today the government announced it will be cancelling the previously announced 4 per cent increase to BC MSP premiums – that’s the Medical Services Plan of B.C.
Meanwhile, the City of Vancouver announced some details regarding their plan to tax empty homes in a way to combat foreign ownership in the city.
The rate will be between 0.5-2.0 per cent and will apply to anyone who self declares a home as empty on their tax bill. But what about those who don't self declare, or hide it from their Canadian tax bill?
City staff plan to rely on a snitch-and-audit system of enforcement. I really think the collection and enforcement of this tax could inevitably cost the city more than it brings in.
When talking about empty houses, the assumption is they often belong to foreign owners and are kept as an investment and there is no incentive to rent them out.
And in this case that assumption is probably right, but what about people who own a second apartment in the city? Or who go away for the winter? Will they be exempt?
I’m just not convinced an empty home tax will fix the root of the problem.