IMPORTANT UPDATE: Speculation Tax Declaration and Purpose-Built Rental Buildings

LandlordBC, through the course of additional communication with the BC Minister of Finance, confirmed that while purpose-built rental buildings are excluded from the definition of residential property under the Speculation and Vacancy Tax Act, and exempt from the tax, owners will nevertheless have to file a one-time declaration for the exemption. We are sharing with you our most recent communication from the Minister (see below). The deadline to declare an exemption is March 31, 2019. Residential property owners who do not complete their declaration before the deadline will receive a tax notice of assessment. The tax must be paid by early July.

Non-stratified purpose-built rental buildings:

  • Non-stratified purpose-built rental buildings are exempt from the speculation and vacancy tax.
  • Rental buildings are excluded from the definition of residential property by section 2 of the Speculation and Vacancy Tax Regulation. (
  • The rental building owner will have to file a declaration in the first year in order to identify that their property meets the criteria in the regulation.  BCA data are not specific enough to allow us to identify and do an upfront exemption on these properties in the first year.
  • The ministry needs owners to self-identify purpose built rental buildings so they can be properly exempt from the tax. The online declaration process is the easiest way to do this.
    • This process will generally take under three minutes, and an owner will only need to do so the first year. In the case of multiple owners, a single owner making a declaration is sufficient.
    • Alternatively, an owner may choose to phone the speculation tax number (1-833-554-2323) and report the building’s status or write a letter to the Administrator.
  • In subsequent years BCA will have a list of properties that have been previously filed and will not have to send the owners of those properties a declaration form.
    • This is a separate exemption from the tenancy exemptions found in sections 36-39 of the Speculation and Vacancy Tax Act.
    • A rental building would likely also qualify for the tenancy exemptions found in sections 36-39 but they should use the exemption in the regulation as this will mean they only have to do the declaration once rather than every year.
  • Building owners whose property meets the requirements in section 2 of the regulation should select “This property is a rental apartment building” from the list of exemptions when they complete their declaration.

For more information, a complete list of exemptions, and to learn what is new or has changed about the speculation and vacancy tax, please visit the speculation and vacancy tax website.