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Fewer than 4,000 homeowners yet to submit Empty Homes Tax declarations

February 22 2018 Highest number of undeclared properties in Downtown Vancouver

"Almost all homeowners have already filed their Empty Homes Tax declarations, but the last 2% will face unnecessary penalties if they don't declare by March 5,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Apartments in downtown Vancouver

With fewer than 4,000 residential property owners still required to submit Empty Homes Tax declarations, we have extended the declaration deadline to March 5 to ensure homeowners have been given every opportunity to comply with the new tax.

Approximately 182,000 (98%) of Vancouver residential property owners have submitted their declarations to date, and we want to ensure the remaining 4,000 homeowners declare by the extended deadline to avoid unnecessary fines and penalties.

"Almost all homeowners have already filed their Empty Homes Tax declarations, but the last 2% will face unnecessary penalties if they don't declare by March 5,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

“With a near-zero vacancy rate in Vancouver, our key goal is to shift empty or under-used housing into the rental market. The City has done extensive advertising and notifications about the Empty Homes Tax for more than a year - all homeowners should know that they have to file a declaration, or their homes will be considered empty by default.”

Density of undeclared residential properties in Vancouver

The majority of the approximately 4,000 undeclared residential properties are located in the downtown core, with the highest number of undeclared properties located in Yaletown, followed by Coal Harbour and the West End.

Not submitted a declaration? Declare by March 5

If you have not yet submitted an Empty Homes Tax declaration, complete the process by March 5, 2018, or your property will be deemed vacant and subject to the Empty Homes Tax and a $250 penalty.

Properties which are deemed vacant will be subject to the tax of 1% of the property’s 2017 assessed taxable value. Owners of these properties will receive a Vacancy Tax Notice and a Bylaw Notice for $250 in mid-March. Payment of the tax will be due by April 16, 2018, or a 5% late penalty will be applied.

Audit program

Our audit program for the Empty Homes Tax is also underway to encourage compliance with the new tax. The program uses a risk-based approach, as well as random audits, which is in line with best practices of provincial and federal taxation authorities.

Residential property owners will be:

  • Notified by letter if their property is selected for audit
  • Required to provide evidence verifying their property status declaration

If you are unsure of your property’s status and how your situation relates to the Empty Homes Tax:

  • Phone 3-1-1 between 7am and 10pm daily (outside Vancouver: 604-873-7000)
  • Speak to a citizen service representative

How to submit a declaration

There are a number of ways you can easily submit your Empty Homes Tax declarations, including:

  • Online. The online declaration process is simple and takes most people only a few minutes to complete.
  • In person at City Hall. Visit City Hall where staff will be available to assist you with your online declarations from 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Phone 3-1-1. Declare by calling 3-1-1 between 7am and 10pm daily (outside Vancouver: 604-873-7000) and speak to a citizen service representative. Translation services are also available at 3-1-1.

You can receive technical and information support for submitting your online declaration at any Vancouver Public Library location 

Submit a declaration

Why an Empty Homes Tax?

As part of our Housing Vancouver Strategy, the Empty Homes Tax is one of the tools being implemented to address the city’s rental housing crisis.

The program aims to return empty or under-used residential properties back into the rental pool for use as long-term rental homes for the people who live and work in Vancouver. Net revenues from the tax will also be reinvested into affordable housing initiatives in the city.