February 16, 2016, No. 2016-08. British Columbia Finance Minister Michael de Jong delivered the province’s 2016 budget on February 16, 2016. The budget anticipates a surplus of $377 million for the current 2015-16 year, $264 million in 2016-17, $287 million in 2017-18 and $373 million for 2018-19.
The budget does not include any general corporate or personal income tax rate changes. However, the budget announces measures aimed at improving housing affordability in British Columbia. Effective February 17, 2016, the property transfer tax on purchases of newly constructed homes for use as a principal residence is eliminated where the value of the home is less than $750,000 with partial relief for homes between $750,000 and $800,000. In order to fund this relief, the property tax rate will be increased to 3% on the portion of the value of a property transferred that exceeds $2 million.
The budget announces that a Commission of Tax Competitiveness will be established to review the competitiveness of British Columbia’s tax regime and make recommendations for making that regime more competitive in the fall of 2016. However, the Commission’s mandate will specifically exclude consideration of the return of the harmonized sales tax.
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