In a move it said is meant to “end the hidden ownership of real estate” in the province, the BC government announced today that it is establishing a new, publicly accessible registry of who owns real estate in BC.
The registry will be the first of its kind in Canada, and will provide tax auditors and law enforcement agencies, as well as federal and provincial regulators, with information that will assist in their investigations.
“British Columbia has developed a reputation as an attractive place to anonymously invest and hide wealth,” said Minister of Finance Carole James. “Right now in BC, real estate investors can hide behind numbered companies, offshore and domestic trusts, and corporations.
“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 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 Aug. 19, 2018.
James said today’s announcement is part of the provincial government’s 30-Point Plan for Housing Affordability.