Letter: Speculation tax is poorly conceived

Kelowna letter writer comments on proposed new tax

To: Premier Horgan and Minister James:

I can’t believe how badly this speculation tax was conceived. It was clearly aimed at foreign buyers in Vancouver who have empty condos that are parking money and creating empty condo towers.

Most of the people who own second homes in places like Kelowna, West Kelowna and the Gulf Islands are not speculators. They are people who love coming to these areas to vacation with their families.

In the Interior of B.C., the only two communities who are subject to this tax are Kelowna and West Kelowna. If you own in Peachland, Lake Country, Westbank First Nations property, or anywhere else in the interior you are exempt.

Owners of second homes are used as family getaways. These people all contribute to the local economies when they are here, as well as already paying higher property taxes than local residents because they don’t receive the B.C. Homeowner’s Grant.

Owners of condos and townhouses sometimes cannot rent even their home—even if they wanted to due to strata rules. The government states if the unit is rented—a signed lease for a year—they are exempt from paying and then can’t use it for their families.

The two per cent annual tax amounts to several thousands of dollars a year per home in addition to the taxes they are already paying to the municipality. A $700,000 condo or home could have to pay $14,000 extra per year.

Essentially, the government is telling people that if they bought a property for their personal use, on a less than full time basis, the government has the right to tax them. This won’t create more rental properties, as the government thinks, it will just force people to sell their properties and go elsewhere.

What can you do to get this changed immediately—suggest you only tax foreigners —and leave our Canadian citizens alone.

Send e-mails to premier@gov.bc.ca, FIN.Minister@gov.bc.ca.

Debra Kelly, Peachland

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