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What is the speculation and vacancy tax?

The speculation and vacancy tax is an annual tax based on how owners use residential properties in major urban areas in B.C. Over 99% of British Columbians are exempt from the speculation and vacancy tax. Generally, a British Columbian owner is exempt from the tax if the home is their principal residence.

What if the home is my principal residence, but my spouse has moved into residential care?

Spouses are entitled to claim the principal residence exemption even while it is the principal residence of only one of them. A spouse living in a residential care facility, such as long-term care or assisted living is also entitled to claim the principal residence exemption when the other spouse continues to live in their home.

What if I have moved into residential care, but am still the owner of my home?

The principal residence exemption also applies in cases where the owner lived in the principal residence but no longer lives there under certain circumstances. For instance, an owner is exempt from the tax for up to two years if they lived in the home before entering a residential care facility due to age, disability, addiction, illness, or frailty.

The residential care facility must offer services such as daily meals, housekeeping or nursing care. However, it is important to clarify that this exemption would be used when there is not a spouse continuing to live in their previous residence. 


Example 1: Jim and Mary are spouses who are both on title for their principal residence and lived together in their family home until Jim moved into a residential care facility in January of 2020. Mary continues to live in their family home. Jim and Mary both are entitled to claim the principal residence exemption in 2020, 2021, and 2022. They will both continue to be eligible to claim this exemption until their situation changes.

Example 2: Susan is the sole owner and occupant of a home that she lived in until she entered residential care in 2020. She can claim “Lived in home before going into residential care” exemption in 2020 and 2021, but not in 2022.

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