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British Columbia-> BC Property Taxes

BC Property Taxes / Property Purchase Taxes

Property tax is charged based on the assessed values of properties in the province.  There are various classes of property, and different tax rates are imposed based on the property classification.  Tax rates vary between municipalities.

The assessment and classification of properties is done by BC Assessment, based on the

     - Assessment Act,

     - Prescribed Classes of Property Regulation,

     - Classification of Land as a Farm Regulation and other regulations.

For a more detailed explanation of classification of farm land, see our article Farm Status in British Columbia - Understanding the Regulation.

School tax is one of the components of property taxes.

Additional School Tax for Residential Properties

The BC 2018 Budget budget introduced an additional school tax, starting in 2019, for high-valued residential properties in the province.  The additional tax rate is:

    - 0.2% on the residential portion assessed between $3 million and $4 million
    - 0.4% on the residential portion assessed over $4 million

Property Transfer Tax

In addition to annual property taxes, property transfer taxes must be paid by the buyer when a property is sold.

The BC 2018 Budget imposed an additional tax on the portion of the fair market value of residential land and improvements greater than $3 million, effective February 21, 2018.  For example, if a residential property is sold for $4 million, the property transfer tax will be:

    - 1% on the first $200,000 ($2,000)
    - 2% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2 million ($1.8 million x 2% = $36,000),
    - 3% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $2 million (($4 million - $2 million) = $60,000 x 3%), and
    - because the property is residential, a further 2% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $3 million ($4 million - $3 million) x 2% = $20,000.

This means that the portion of the fair market value over $3 million is subject to a total of 5% property transfer tax.  The above $4 million property would have property transfer tax totalling $118,000 (2,000 + 36,000 + 60,000 + 20,000).

Foreign Buyer Tax (Additional Property Transfer Tax)

A foreign national, foreign corporation or taxable trustee must pay additional property transfer tax on a residential property transfer if the property is within specified areas of BC.

The tax rate is 15% of the fair market value for property transfers registered on or before February 20, 2018, if the property is within the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD).

The tax rate is 20% of the fair market value for property transfers registered on or after February 21, 2018, if the property is within:

    - Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD),
    - Capital Regional District,
    - Fraser Valley Regional District,
    - Regional District of Central Okanagan, or
    - Regional District of Nanaimo

This tax has survived a court challenge - see the TaxPage.com article Foreign Buyer Tax Survives Constitutional Challenge.

BC Home Owner Grant

The BC Home Owner Grant can be claimed for your principal residence, to reduce the amount of property taxes you pay.  The amount of the grant is greater for seniors.  The grant is reduced for properties assessed over a certain threshold, which can change annually.

There is a lot of information on the Home Owner Grant on the BC website, including the above threshold, and how to claim your grant online.  However, it does not specifically address the home owner grant limitations regarding spouses who are NOT separated and living apart.

As per section 6 of the Home Owner Grant Act, if an owner of an eligible residence receives the home owner grant, then neither the owner nor the owner's spouse is entitled, for that tax year, to receive another home owner grant.

TaxTips.ca Resources

Buying Real Estate from a Non-Resident - if you buy from a non-resident without realizing it, this could be very costly!

BC Speculation and Vacancy Tax

Farm Status in British Columbia - Understanding the Regulation

City of Vancouver

Empty Homes Tax - this is a separate tax from the BC Speculation and Vacancy Tax

Government of BC Resources

Home Owner Grant Act

Home Owner Grant - Claim your grant online

Property Transfer Tax Act

Property Transfer Tax

Additional Property Transfer Tax for Foreign Entities & Taxable Trustees (Foreign Buyer Tax)

School Act Division 4 - Taxation: General School Tax is s. 119, Additional School Tax is s. 120.1

Additional School Tax for Residential Properties

Tax Tip:  Make sure you're aware of current and annual tax costs when purchasing a property!

Revised: July 27, 2021

 

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