Although the Province’s recently announced Speculation Tax does not apply in the East Kootenay, the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Board of Directors believes the region is already being impacted by the announcement and wants assurances the Tax will not be implemented in the region.
The tax, which was announced in the provincial budget, will apply a tax of $5 per $1000 of assessed value for properties owned by out-of-Province homeowners who do not occupy their residence. In 2019, the rate will increase to $20 per $1,000. “The new tax uses a broad-brush to paint all second-property owners as speculators. Our Board wants to stress to the Province that in our area, our second-homeowners are a valued and important part of our communities and we are gravely concerned about the impact this tax could have should it be expanded,” says RDEK Chair Rob Gay.
As a result, the Board is calling on the Province to provide assurances the tax will not be expanded to the RDEK and undertake meaningful consultation with local government before any further changes are contemplated.
“Our concern isn’t just about the potential future impacts. We believe there are already negative impacts on regions not originally included in the tax, particularly because of the uncertainty it has created,” adds Gay. “Recreational property investors may be hesitant to invest in our region if there is no assurance that the Province won’t be expanding the Tax further.”
The Board will be sending a letter to both the Premier and Minister of Finance explaining the negative impact on regions not originally included in the tax, requesting consultation prior to any changes, emphasizing the importance of our second-homeowners in our region and asking for assurances the tax will not be implemented in the East Kootenay.
In addition, the Board will be submitting a resolution to the upcoming Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments Annual General Meeting calling on the Union of BC Municipalities to advocate that the Province engage in appropriate consultation with local government and to provide local governments with an opportunity to opt in or out of the tax.