Vancouver Council approves time-limited tax exemption for unsold condos.

The taxation on unsold condominiums has significantly changed in Vancouver, sparking discussion among the council members. The council has resolved to temporarily exempt unsold vacant condos from taxes, easing the financial burden on the city's developers and property owners.

In the past, condos that were constructed but remained unsold and vacant were charged an "empty homes tax." This tax encouraged property owners to rent or sell their homes rather than leave them unoccupied. 

However, a new rule ensures that vacant condos not sold will be immune from this tax. This does not apply retroactively to condos that have been completed and left empty for several years before 2022 - these properties will continue to be taxed.

This decision has significant financial implications. The empty homes tax previously levied on about 60 unsold condos across Vancouver in 2022 alone totalled $3.8 million. This tax is now being refunded because of the new exemption. 

The original proposal from city staff was to create this new exemption starting in 2023. The council decided to subsequently apply the exemption, which resulted in a refund of millions of dollars in previously paid taxes. This decision came after local real estate development companies and an industry association requested a retroactive exemption.

Despite the majority of the council agreeing on this tax change, the decision has not been without its critics. Three council members, unaffiliated with the majority, voiced their opposition to the exemption's creation and its retroactive application. These members voted against the bylaw amendments, expressing concerns about the potential impacts of this tax exemption.

Fumano, D. (2023, June 29). Vancouver Council approves time-limited tax exemption for unsold condos. Vancouver Sun.