BC Property Owners’ Year-End Duties 2021

If you own investment property in BC there are a number of responsibilities that you need to attend to as we move forward into a new tax year. We have compiled a list of resources to help you get organized and ensure you don’t miss important obligations that come with owning an investment property. 

Difference between Empty Home Tax and the Speculation and Vacancy Tax 

Despite similar names, the Speculation and Vacancy Tax is different from Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax and the rules for each differ. The Speculation and Vacancy Tax is an annual tax based on how owners use residential properties in major urban areas in B.C, while the Empty Home Tax is specific to Vancouver and is based on if your property is vacant or not.

This means if you own residential property in the City of Vancouver, you: 

  • Must declare separately for each tax. 
  • May be exempt from one tax but may need to pay the other.  

Speculation and Vacancy Tax 

The BC government is addressing housing prices rising out of many average family’s budgets through the annual Speculation and Vacancy Tax. This tax is based upon where property owners reside and do business. This initiative will contribute towards: 

  • Encouraging empty homes to be rented to people who live and work in B.C. 
  • Supporting affordable housing initiatives 

If you do need to register for the Speculation and Vacancy Tax, your declaration letter would have been mailed out to you from January 19 through February 16, 2021. Find out the dates your letter should arrive based on your postal code. 

This is a yearly form and you much declare each year by March 31stFind out more about how the speculation and vacancy tax applies to you.

Empty Homes Tax 

Vancouver property owners must declare if their home is vacant or not each year – even if it is rented or you are occupying it yourself. If you own more than one property you do need to declare the status of each property.  

Empty Homes Tax Declarations are due by February 2, 2021. If you do not submit by the deadline your property will be automatically assessed as vacant and will be taxed as such and are subject to a $250 by-law ticket. The current taxes as 1.25% of the property’s assessed value.

Good to Know Before you Begin your Declaration 

Your declaration will take five minutes to complete, so it is not a large time commitment. If you would like to outsource the work of declaring your property status you may give permission for a 3rd party to submit your declaration on your behalf. Above all, be sure that you fulfill the requirements of your property status at the time you declare. 

What needs to submitted: 

Due Dates:

  • Previous years’ unpaid tax added to property tax bill: December 31, 2020.
  • Declaration for 2020: February 2, 2021.
  • Empty Homes Tax payment for 2020: April 16, 2021.


More Helpful Resources 

Business License for Rentals (City of Vancouver) 

If you own investment property, the city of Vancouver considers you a business, as you earn income from renting your property. Depending if you have long term or short term rentals, be sure to apply for the right license. We have provided links to resources for both scenarios.

Long-Term RentalsShort-Term Rentals 

Property Tax Lower Mainland 

Ensure you are paying the right taxes within the Lower Mainland based on that city you own property in. Check our list of links to each city to check the property taxes in your property’s area.

VancouverBurnabyNorth VancouverCoquitlamRichmondSurrey

Share this article