VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – Less than two months before the provincial election, the BC government is making changes to the foreign buyers tax.
It now says workers coming to BC through the Provincial Nominee Program can now be exempt from the additional property transfer tax. Any who purchased a principal residence on or after August 2nd, 2016 will be able to apply for a retroactive exemption.
The BC Liberals say the move is to make sure highly skilled workers and entrepreneurs aren’t shut out.
“British Columbia has always welcomed the world’s best and brightest, where they find a place that embraces them,” says Premier Christy Clark. “Our growing tech sector depends on the Provincial Nominee Program, and that’s why we’re removing barriers, so they can get to work, create jobs, and help build BC.”
People who are looking for an exemption will have to go through an online process.
“It’s not a surprise to me the Liberals introduced this the day after the last day of the legislative session,” says NDP housing critic David Eby, the MLA for Vancouver Point Grey. “They were embarrassed to introduce them and the reason is, we told them that they brought in this tax that they were going to be taxing a bunch of people who work, live and pay taxes in British Columbia, and it wasn’t the right thing to do.
“Now they have fixed it, albeit almost a year later, and a lot of families who live and work in our communities were hurt really badly by this, and a number of people, absentee investors, didn’t have to pay a cent in tax. So, the tax still needs some work, but in any event, this at least addresses some of the issues.”
Victoria is also extending rebates of the additional property transfer tax to foreign nationals who became permanent residents or Canadian citizens within one year of buying a principal residence. The province say to be eligible for that, they must continuously living in the property as their principal residence for one full year.
The province implemented the 15 per cent foreign buyers tax last fall in an effort to cool the hot housing market.
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