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Cowichan homeowners soon to be affected by speculation and vacancy tax

Homeowners in the Cowichan Valley can prepare for the incoming Speculation and Vacancy tax now.

The tax is being added to homes in North Cowichan, Duncan, Ladysmith, and Lake Cowichan for 2024.

The new tax is being leveed against people who do not live in properties they own in the area, in the hope of incentivising owners to rent out or sell their vacant homes, adding to the housing supply. 46 communities across BC are subject to this form of taxation in the 2023 tax year.

Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples says housing supply problems are real in the valley.

“The people who call Duncan home know that we are facing the same housing pressures of larger centres. We need to increase supply and ensure the housing we have is used as homes,” says Staples. “The speculation and vacancy tax will help increase the available housing, which is badly needed.”

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The tax comes to the island after success in Vancouver, as the province estimates it helped add around 20,000 empty condos to their housing stock. Since it was first implemented in 2018, $313 million has been raised through the program, which they say is reallocated into housing projects in the communities from which the funds were raised.

The province says that while 99 per cent of BCers are exempt from the tax, all home owners are required to declare their status. To be exempt, a home must be either your principal home, or rented out for six or more months of the year for at least one month at a time.

Homeowners can expect to receive mailed instructions on how to declare early next year, with a submission deadline at the end of March.

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