Foreign Buyer’s Tax Changes Coming

Foreign Buyer’s Tax Changes Coming
(January 30, 2017 )


The Province of British Columbia will soon allow international citizens working and paying taxes in the province to bypass the 15-per-cent foreign home buyer’s tax in a bid to make the province more attractive to skilled professionals but what the specific changes will look like and who will be impacted remains to be seen.

Premier Christy Clark announced the coming move on Sunday when she said,
“We believe the best and the brightest should be able to come to British Columbia” [and] “We’re going to lift the foreign owners’ tax on people who have work permits, who are paying taxes and living in British Columbia, as a way to encourage more people to come.”

A Ministry of Finance spokesperson says government has not set a timeline for the change, but they plan to have it implemented “as soon as possible." The spokesperson was unable to comment on what would happen to those who have already paid the tax but who would be eligible for the exemption. Sounds like they are governing by the seat of their pants.

Since Expo '86 the provincial government has been strongly promoting foreign investment in B.C., and especially so in mainland China. Moreover, between 2005 and 2012, according to Statistics Canada, 37,000 Chinese millionaires arrived in B.C. as permanent residents under the now-defunct Immigrant Investor Program (IIP), a federal initiative that invited wealthy immigrants fast entry into Canada in exchange for low-interest loans to provincial governments. The increased demand has made property values increase to the point that it has become unaffordable for many people to live and work in the city.
While affordability is still the problem, when it comes to housing, Vancouver will always be an expensive city. Every large city has housing affordability issues and Vancouver's problem is compounded by its geographic location high desirability. What's important is that people don't look at this as an immigration problem. It is the miserable failure of many governments - (SoCreds, NDP and Liberal) in understanding markets and urban planning.
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