Special circumstances with the speculation and vacancy tax

More specific information about declaring for the speculation and vacancy tax is available if you are in one of the following circumstances:

Updating your information

Speculation and vacancy tax declaration letters are mailed to the address on file with BC Assessment and with the Land Title and Survey Authority.

If you need to update your information with the land title office, such as a name change or removing someone from title, follow the processes outlined by the Land Title and Survey Authority.

If you need to update your information with BC Assessment, such as your mailing address or property details, follow the processes outlined by BC Assessment.

Helping a friend or family member

You can help a friend or family member complete their declaration online or over the phone. Learn more about how to declare.

To help them online

First, they need to fill out the Authorization or Cancellation of a Representative form (FIN 146). Then, you can fill out the declaration online for them. You'll need:

  • The declaration code and letter ID numbers from their current declaration letter
  • Their social insurance number and date of birth

On the last page of the declaration, upload the completed Authorization or Cancellation of a Representative form (FIN 146).

To help them over the phone

They must also be present during the phone call with us or have already completed and submitted the Authorization or Cancellation of a Representative form (FIN 146). Once we have verified you're able to represent them, we'll help you declare for them over the phone. You'll need:

  • The declaration code and letter ID numbers from their current declaration letter
  • Their social insurance number and date of birth

Call us when you are ready. 

Translation services are available over the phone. 

If the owner is deceased

Only the executor of the estate, or the personal representative of the deceased can declare on behalf of the deceased. If you had a power of attorney, it’s no longer valid after the death of the person who granted it.

Learn more below about declaring when an owner of the property is deceased.

If you need assistance from us, we will require documents, such as a will, to confirm you're authorized to act on behalf of the deceased.

Declaring when an owner of the property is deceased

If ownership was sole (only one person on title), the person managing the estate is responsible for declaring for the speculation and vacancy tax on behalf of the deceased each year for as long as the deceased remains on title. When declaring for the deceased, the person managing the estate can claim an exemption from the tax in the year of death and the immediately following year.

Reminder: All powers under a power of attorney end after the death of the person who granted it. Responsibilities shift to the executor of the estate.

If you’re an owner and another owner on title is deceased, the declaration requirements depend on the type of ownership:

If you’re a co-owner of a property under a joint tenancy arrangement and the other owner is deceased, we suggest you remove the deceased from title as soon as possible. Contact LTSA to update the title.

As long as the deceased remains on title, a declaration may be required for the deceased. If you call us, we can update our records quickly and will no longer ask for any declaration from the deceased. We will require documents, such as a will, to confirm you are authorized to act on behalf of the deceased.

You still need to declare for yourself online or over the phone. You can claim an exemption from the tax in the year of death and the immediately following year.

If shared ownership was under a tenants-in-common arrangement, then until probate concludes, the person managing the estate must declare on behalf of the deceased owner.

The surviving owner(s) must still declare for themselves.

When declaring, all owners (including the person managing the estate of the deceased) can claim an exemption from the tax in the year of death and the immediately following year.

 

If there are no surviving owners on title for the property and there are no personal representatives or executors appointed, a declaration will need to be completed when the court appoints a representative. Declarations must be completed within three years.

If you need assistance from us with any of the above cases, we will require documents, such as a will, to confirm you are authorized to act on behalf of the deceased.

Being away from home during the declaration period

If you are away from home during the declaration period, you still have to ensure you declare before the declaration deadline.

However, if you haven’t received your letter because you’re travelling, call us before the deadline and we can help you complete your declaration over the phone. You still must declare before the deadline, even if you have not received your letter.

Missing the declaration deadline

The annual deadline to submit your declaration for the speculation and vacancy tax is March 31.

If you don’t complete your declaration before the deadline, you’ll receive a tax notice charging you the tax at the maximum tax rate.

However, you can still complete your declaration to claim an exemption even after you've received a tax notice.

  • More information about how to get help

Commercial property owners or tenants of a commercial property owner (2020 only)

Speculation and vacancy tax relief for the 2020 tax year is available for tenants of commercial properties whose landlords require their tenants to pay the speculation and vacancy tax through a triple-net lease agreement or similar agreement.

Both property owners and tenants can apply for the speculation and vacancy tax commercial tenancy remission to ensure tenants don’t have to wait for the owner to apply.

Eligible owners and their tenants may not have to pay speculation and vacancy tax for 2020 if they meet all of the following conditions:

  • According to BC Assessment data for the 2020 property tax year, the property must include:
    • a portion that is class 1 but has no residence or class 1 improvement
    • a portion that contains a class 5 or 6 improvement
  • Every owner of the property has declared for the speculation and vacancy tax year 2020
  • At least one of the owners has a speculation and vacancy tax liability following declaration
  • The lease with the commercial tenant was signed before April 29, 2021 and is still in effect at the time of application, and requires the tenant to pay some or all of the speculation and vacancy tax
  • If the applicant is an owner, they must notify every tenant that has such a lease and notify every other owner
  • If the applicant is the tenant, they must notify every owner

Eligible owners or tenants can apply with the Speculation and Vacancy Tax Commercial Tenancy Remission Application form or contact the Ministry of Finance for assistance:

  • 1-833-554-2323, Monday to Friday, 8:30AM to 4:00PM

All applications must be made before December 31, 2023.

This information is provided for your convenience and guidance and is not a replacement for the legislation