What is the Speculation Tax?

By on 03/14/2019

This new type of tax invented by the NDP is another misnomer. It seems to have very little to do with speculation as the NDP has admitted that 99% of British Columbians will be unaffected.

The strongest proponent of this tax seems to be MLA David Eby who makes a whole variety of unsubstantiated claims about speculation and housing prices. His viewpoint is explained in the following:

His source for this information is our old friend Dr. Tom Davidoff, whose wife works in David Eby’s office and who strongly believes in taxing everyone other than himself in order to make the system “fairer”. Other sources are an organization called Transparency International which rates Canada in the top 10 countries in the world for the least corruption but does call attention to the use of trusts and nominees for real estate as being of concern in Canada and specifically British Columbia.

Completely unsubstantiated claims have been made that UBC students and housewives own multi-million dollar properties and this justifies further invasions of privacy. 

Specifically, I am referring to the requirement to give your Social Insurance Number (SIN) in order to apply for exemption from this new tax.

In my case, and I assume many others, I have owned my house for forty years and although it has risen in value, it would hardly be considered a speculative investment. As I am retired, it is pretty obvious that my present income would not justify the purchase of the property. However, once Mr. Eby and his fellow travellers have my SIN, they could cross-reference my income to the value of the property and jump to the conclusion that it was purchased with “laundered” money. This is exactly what Andrew Yan did when he published his information that began this “witch hunt”. Another example of less than stellar research was Mr. Yan’s analysis of BC Hydro records which was used to justify the “empty homes” tax. According to Mr. Yan, there were 20,000 empty homes. After implementation of this tax, only about 1,000 of these were put on the rental market. I am certain that the negative effects of this tax greatly outweigh the pathetic improvement to the rental situation in Vancouver.

The presumption that a “housewife” owning a house somehow means that the money comes from a “satellite” family or illegal funds is preposterous. Many people have very good legal reasons for putting the family home into the name of a non-income earning spouse.

My concern is that this is a massive “fishing” expedition for new forms of taxation that will be justified by massaging this new source of information in a fashion that will justify new forms of “capital” rather than “income” taxes in order to level out perceived differences in society.

Per The Social Insurance Number Code of Practice Annex 2 - Authorized federal uses of the SIN, it will be noted that all of the prescribed uses of the SIN (except for income reporting) are to access government programs that provide some type of benefit to the recipient. The fundamental issue is that this is voluntary.

This new “Speculation” tax is coercive and punitive.

Robert Angus, Vancouver