Anti-speculation tax group fundraises as BC minister stands firm

By Steve Randall

A coalition called Canadians Against the BC Speculation Tax is hoping to raise $300,000 to take on the British Columbia government’s tax on vacant properties.

The group has launched an online fundraising campaign and says it will use the funds to fund its campaign to urge the government to withdraw the tax, which it says unfairly penalizes those with second homes used for recreation, retirement or employment purposes.

The residents’ group says if the government won’t listen then it will bring a class action against the government.

BC housing minister Carole James refused to back down on the tax when she spoke to reporters Thursday.

She also hit out at critics, posting on Twitter:

“Housing affordability has reached a crisis level in our province. While some may prefer that the status quo continue, we’re taking action to rein in an out-of-control housing market.”

While those opposed to the tax cite unfairness and the number of BC residents who will be subject to the tax, others suggest that the government has got it right.

Graeme Egan, president of Vancouver-based CastleBay Wealth Management told the Vancouver Sun that the tax on properties used as an investment is no different to investors paying taxes on other investment assets.

He also noted that those who are renting out their properties are exempt from the tax.

For those who have a second home purely for family use, Egan says that they must be “pretty well off” and will therefore not be heavily impacted by the tax.

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