B.C. Government aims to discourage real estate fraud with new transparency act

To increase transparency and combat tax evasion through real estate, the B.C. government is launching new disclosure laws for property owners.

The new Land Owner Transparency Act, which is currently in draft form, will require full disclosure of property ownership in each of the following scenarios:

          In an application to register an interest land in the name of a reporting body. In this case a reporting body includes a corporation, trustee or partner. Any individuals with a beneficial interest in the land, either through the landowning corporation or through any other kind of partnership will need to be identified.

          When there is a change in interest holders or beneficial owners. This will be a requirement whether or not the land’s legal title is ultimately transferred.

          In an initial ownership transition period, each person holding an interest in land for a beneficial owner will have to file a disclosure report.

The information required in these disclosure reports will vary, based on whether the owner of the land is a corporation or an individual, but identifying information likely to be required will include things like full names, addresses, social insurance numbers and individual tax numbers.

The tightening of these disclosure legislations aims to discourage real estate investors from hiding behind numbered companies or offshore trusts. Residents of B.C. have until August 19, 2018 to provide feedback about these proposed changes, which will then be further refined.

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