West Vancouver is one of the highest-taxing communities in the region, levying more than all other Lower Mainland municipalities. The city doesn’t have a lot of industrial or commercial property, so the tax burden falls on homeowners to pay.
A new paper by UBC faculty members Tom Davidoff, Paul Boniface Akaabre and Craig Jones says wealthy owners of expensive Greater Vancouver homes should be subject to a minimum income tax. They calculate such a tax would generate $3 billion in income taxes a year.
1. Personal Income Tax
West Vancouver is a beautiful and vibrant community with high levels of local services. These include a large library, community centre and sports programs, a local police force, the Seawalk, and over 150 parks.
These services are essential to keeping the community a great place to live. However, they also require a significant amount of money to keep running. As a result, the District of West Vancouver faces a high level of taxation and deferred maintenance.
The District of West Vancouver has a number of different taxes, including an income tax rate. This is a combination of federal and provincial taxes that apply to all incomes over a certain amount. The rates are progressive, so the higher your income, the more tax you’ll pay.
British Columbia‘s personal income tax rate is one of the most important factors in determining your overall tax bill. As a result, it’s essential to understand the tax system and what you can do to reduce your overall taxes.
BC‘s top income tax rate is currently 53.5 percent, which makes it the fourth highest in Canada or the United States. This is just 1.3 percentage points lower than Newfoundland & Labrador’s top rate, which sits at 54.8 percent.
In addition to the personal income tax, there are other taxes that you may have to pay, such as property and capital gains taxes. Understanding the nuances of these taxes can help you make smarter decisions when it comes to purchasing or selling real estate.
There are a variety of exemptions that you can claim from the provincial income tax. Some of these include: unprocessed food and restaurants; motor fuel; children’s clothing and footwear; goods purchased for resale or export; and many professional services, including legal services.
Another way that you can avoid paying a high personal income tax rate is to ensure that you receive a good tax credit when you file your tax return. Some of these credits can be as large as 45%.
In addition to the personal income tax, there is a sales tax that is levied on some goods and services in the province. These taxes are known as the 7% PST and 5% GST. The PST was introduced in 1948 and the GST in 1991, but both were combined into the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in 2010. It was implemented through a referendum and rejected by local majorities in most districts across the province.
2. Property Tax
Property taxes are a municipal tax that is levied on property owners and is used to fund community services like police, fire and other municipal services. The property tax rate is determined based on how much money the city needs to spend for the coming year.
In Vancouver, the property tax rate is one of the lowest in North America and it is often considered to be a key deciding factor for many people choosing to live in the city. A high property tax rate can make a big impact on the affordability of housing in the city, and the property tax rate is an important indicator for whether a city can afford to provide services and infrastructure.
The city’s low property tax rate has also been a major reason why Vancouver has become a wealthier place than it was a decade ago, according to a report from the Fraser Institute. However, it is also a major source of inequality.
As the price of homes has soared, British Columbia’s economy has struggled to keep up with rising demand for residential real estate. To offset the costs, governments have introduced a number of targeted taxes that are designed to cool housing speculation.
But these new taxes have failed to make a dent in the skyrocketing home prices. Instead, they have made BC a more expensive place to live for many families and renters, and have also pushed up rents to the point where many residents cannot afford to pay them.
In order to encourage affordable housing, leaders in Vancouver and across BC need to adopt tax policies that discourage speculative real estate investment. This can be done by ensuring that the tax system is fair and does not deepen inequality.
It is also vital to ensure that all British Columbians have access to affordable housing. This will be difficult to achieve unless governments change the way they tax real estate.
The government of Canada is responsible for establishing the property tax rate in each jurisdiction, as well as how it is administered and enforced. This will be discussed in more detail below, along with other taxes that may be imposed on real estate transactions.
3. Capital Gains Tax
Capital gains are an increase in the value of an asset, such as a home or business. These increases are taxed as personal income in Canada. In BC, 50% of the realized gain is taxed at the individual’s marginal rate. To calculate this, add half of your realized capital gains to your total personal income and divide by your marginal rate.
It is possible to avoid paying the full amount of capital gains if you sell your property before January 1. This allows you to receive money in your bank account that can be used for other purposes, such as investments or medical expenses. However, it is important to remember that you must pay taxes on this gain by the end of the year.
If you own a commercial or residential real estate property, the capital gain is calculated based on your adjusted cost base (ACB), which is your total original investment minus your original purchase price. If your ACB is less than $250,000, you are exempt from paying the full 25% capital gains tax.
As well, if you sell your BC real estate before June 30, you can apply any losses from previous years against the taxable gains and reduce your taxable gain. This is a great option if you are a new property owner or if you have a large loss in the year.
In addition to the BC capital gains tax, you will also be required to pay property transfer tax on any properties you own. This tax is intended to help fund affordable housing and is paid by both buyers and sellers.
While the government is trying to limit this tax, it can still have a negative impact on home values. Moreover, it could discourage investors from purchasing properties in B.C.
Low property taxes, a principal residence capital gains tax exemption and the provincial homeowner grant have helped fuel rising prices in British Columbia. But those policies aren’t enough to create affordable homes, and they’ve widened the wealth gap between homeowners and renters.
According to a study by UBC faculty members Tom Davidoff, Paul Boniface Akaabre and Craig Jones, many owners of expensive Greater Vancouver houses don’t pay significant income taxes.
4. Other Taxes
West Vancouver is a district municipality on the North Shore of Vancouver that is known for its gorgeous parks, scenic views and a vibrant culture. The district also has many important industries, including healthcare and retail services.
The District of West Vancouver has a population of 42,694 and consists of 15 neighborhoods. Most of the district’s homes are located along the coast and offer scenic views of the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and Howe Sound.
While property taxes in West Vancouver are relatively high, they are still among the lowest in the province. This is in part due to the fact that the city has a large number of single-family homes.
Nevertheless, it’s still worth paying your property tax to help ensure that your community has the best services and amenities possible. This is especially true if you live in a neighbourhood with lots of public parks, where you can take your dog for a walk and enjoy a beautiful view at the same time.
Another important type of tax is the speculation and vacancy tax. This was introduced by the NDP government in 2018 as a way to raise money for affordable housing projects and to discourage owners from leaving their secondary homes sitting empty.
As in many other BC municipalities, foreign owners and satellite families pay the tax at a higher rate than Canadian citizens and permanent residents. According to the Ministry of Finance, of the 1,087 residential properties in West Vancouver that were assessed the speculation and vacancy tax in 2021, foreign owners and satellite families accounted for two-thirds of those who paid the tax.
While the speculation and vacancy tax is intended to encourage homeowners to keep their homes occupied, it’s not clear that it has made a dent in the problem of homelessness or inflated real estate prices. Moreover, it’s difficult to determine which property owners are actually paying the tax because it’s not clear who owns their own homes and who’s not.
West Vancouver’s council has been asking the province for more powers to hit absentee homeowners with a speculative and vacancy tax in the hopes of collecting more money from those who own properties but aren’t living in them. This is especially important given the high rate of poverty in the area and the high percentage of locals over 65 years old.
Among many other things, David A. Grantham is a contributing author to UmassExtension West Vancouver Blo. He is a renowned expert on real estate in BC.
Born in North Vancouver, Louisiana, Dr. Grantham grew up in Lower Lonsdale. He then went on to complete his business degree at the University British Columbia. As of this writing, Grantham has completed over 100 projects, including the development of a high rise building in Vancouver.
He is a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. He was a dedicated outdoorsman and enjoyed sports such as hunting, fishing, scuba diving, and snow skiing. His wife, Alison Grantham, and their two daughters survived him. He is survived by his wife Alison Martin Grantham and two daughters.