Opt out or face big tax bill

Millions of homeowners in areas of B.C. soon to be hit by the new real estate speculation and vacancy tax must apply to be exempted.

Homeowners in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Metro Vancouver, parts of the Fraser Valley, the Capital Regional District, Nanaimo and Lantzville will have to fill out paperwork every year to opt out. 

The controversial measure aims curb hot housing prices by taxing speculators who are leaving properties vacant or not renting them full time, CTV News reports

Owners must register their property by the end of March. Details of how to do so are outlined in letters being mailed out later this month. If you don't fill out the forms, you'll be hit with an additional tax bill based on your home's assessed value.

But Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo, the BC Liberals' jobs critic, warns many people could be hit with big tax bills simply because they don't believe the tax applies to them.

"I'm worried about senior citizens that may receive the notice, cast it aside … and find out July 1 they have another $4,000 or $5,000 bill," Kyllo told CTV.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

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