Speculation tax could affect 6,000 homes in Vernon

6,000 could pay spec tax

As many as 6,000 properties in Vernon could be hit with the expanded speculation and vacancy tax now that it is widening its net to include Vernon and Coldstream.

A report to city council by economic development manager John Perrott notes that approximately 68% of the 18,849 residential properties in Vernon claimed the home owner grant in 2023.

That would indicate the home being used as a primary residence, which would exempt it from the spec tax.

The remaining 32% of residential properties number 6,031.

However, it's not known how many would qualify for an exemption when the tax comes into effect in January 2025.

Residents will be required to complete an annual declaration confirming the use of their property as a primary residence, rental, or other for purposes.

"For individuals who claim their home as their primary residence or rent out the property for at least six months a year, their property is likely exempt," says Perrott.

Exemptions include:

  • Properties with an assessed value under $150,000
  • Properties that are owned by a registered charity, co-operative, municipality or other government entity
  • Properties that are rented for at least six months of the year
  • Properties that are under construction or renovation and the property cannot be occupied for a period of at least 90 days in the calendar year
  • Properties that are newly constructed and under the ownership of the developer, remain unoccupied, and are offered for sale in the calendar year
  • Strata properties that are operated like a hotel for most of the year (owners can occupy the property for periods of the year) and the annual usage is reported to BC Assessment and meets the definition of a Strata Accommodation Property.

Such SAPs are defined as "a strata lot that is in a strata plan or contiguous strata plans comprised of 20 or more strata lots, and which is rented or offered for rent as overnight accommodation for periods of less than 28 days for at least 20% of the 12-month period."

ln Vernon, developments such as the Outback Resort, the Strand Lakeside Resort, and parts of Predator Ridge Resort will likely meet this qualification, says Perrott.

However, it's unclear if other developments within tourist zones would be exempt.

Penticton, Summerland, Lake Country, Peachland, Salmon Arm, and Kamloops were also added to the spec tax list in the Nov. 22 announcement.

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