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Government Liaison Days: Seeking Tax Fairness

Government Liaison Days: Seeking Tax Fairness

At the end of April, more than 80 REALTORS® and real estate board representatives will meet in Victoria to ensure the voice of BC REALTORS® is heard. BCREA's annual Government Liaison (GL) Days conference is a key advocacy opportunity for organized real estate in BC to speak with one voice. This year, that voice will focus on the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) and Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)—also referred to as shelter taxes.

BC homebuyers have the highest home ownership costs in the country. The PTT has been levied on all real estate transactions at a rate of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the balance since the late 1980s. Under the proposed HST, new residential construction will be subject to 12% HST, replacing the 5% GST now charged.

BCREA recommends the provincial government take several steps to help minimize the negative impact of shelter taxes on BC homebuyers, homeowners and landlords. The Association looks forward to working with elected officials to index the HST rebate threshold for new homes, using the New Housing Price Index. This measure would ensure homebuyers in the future are treated the same as those who purchase when the HST is first implemented.

The provincial government will also be encouraged to implement a three-year phase-out of the PTT. BCREA has advocated for the elimination of the PTT since it was introduced, and the added burden of the HST places further restrictions on homebuyers, who help drive economic activity in their communities.