NewsGovernment takes action to stop tax evasion and to crack down on hidden ownership problems in real estate

CPPNews  The BC Governnmet has a  30-point plan for housing affordability in which property buyers — including real estate speculators — will have to disclose more complete information when they make purchases through a corporation or trust.

“Our government has been clear that the days of skirting tax laws and hiding property ownership behind numbered companies and trusts are over. Not only is tax evasion in real estate fundamentally unfair, but it’s driving up the cost of housing for people who live and work in our communities,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “These changes give authorities another tool to make sure people are paying the taxes they owe.”

Starting Sept. 17, 2018, the new property transfer tax return will require people to report additional information when a transaction is structured through a corporation or trust. This will allow government to identify people with a significant interest in the property, and ensure the correct amount of tax is paid. The updated return will require the following additional information:
  • name
  • date of birth
  • citizenship information
  • contact details
  • tax identification numbers (such as a social insurance number)
The new reporting requirements will apply to all property types, including residential and commercial. There will be exemptions for certain trusts, such as charitable trusts, and certain corporations, such as hospitals, schools and libraries.

This change complements other actions the B.C. government is taking to address tax fraud and close loopholes in the real estate market, including:

  • Consulting on legislation to establish a new, publicly accessible registry of who owns real estate in B.C.
  • Introducing a new law to track pre-sale condominium contract assignments, and prevent tax evasion.
  • Sharing information on the homeowner grant with federal tax officials to improve tax enforcement.
  • Strengthening property transfer tax auditors’ abilities to take action on tax evasion.
  • Establishing a federal-provincial working group on tax fraud and money laundering.

Cracking down on hidden ownership of real estate

The B.C. government is also taking steps to end the hidden ownership of real estate to make sure people are paying their share of taxes, as part of its 30-Point Plan for Housing Affordability.

“British Columbia has developed a reputation as an attractive place to anonymously invest and hide wealth. Right now in B.C., real estate investors can hide behind numbered companies, offshore and domestic trusts, and corporations,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “Ending this type of hidden ownership in real estate will help us fight tax evasion, tax fraud and money laundering. Our goal is to return fairness to the housing market.”

The Province is establishing a new, publicly accessible registry of who owns real estate in British Columbia. It will be the first registry of its kind in Canada, and will improve transparency in the real estate market. It will provide tax auditors and law enforcement agencies, as well as federal and provincial regulators, with information that will assist with their investigations.

The proposed legislation is set out in a white paper that includes the draft land owner transparency act. The new law would authorize the collection of beneficial ownership information, as well as the creation and administration of the public registry.

British Columbians are invited to share their feedback on the white paper proposal until Sept. 19, 2018. The beneficial ownership registry complements other initiatives the B.C. government is undertaking to address tax fraud and close loopholes in the real estate market, including:

  • introducing a new law to track pre-sale condominium contract assignments, and prevent tax evasion.
  • sharing information on the homeowner grant with federal tax officials to improve tax enforcement.
  • establishing a federal-provincial working group on tax fraud and money laundering.





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