Effective September 20, 2020, the B.C.’s Land Owner Transparency Act (LOTA) was introduced to increase the knowledge of land ownership in the province in an attempt to prevent tax evasion, fraud, and money laundering.
A public registry was created listing certain registered owners of land within the province of British Columbia, including certain individuals, relevant corporations, trusts, and partnerships who were registered owners of an “interest in land” prior to November 30, 2020, and who continue to own that land.
If you are considered a “registered owner of land” as defined by the B.C. government, you are required to file a Transparency Report in accordance with the LOTA by November 30, 2022.
Failure to file a Report by the deadline may result in fines of up to $25,000 for individuals, $50,000 for corporations, or 5% of the property’s assessed value.
Crowe MacKay’s trusted advisors review the LOTA and Transparency Report requirements and how this may impact your business.
What is a Transparency Report?
The Report supports the Land Owner Transparency Registry by collecting information about the beneficial ownership of land within the province of B.C. Beneficial land owners are defined as those who own or control land indirectly through entities such as corporations, partnerships, or trusts. The intention of the registry is to end hidden ownership of land in B.C.
*Note: The Transparency Report is different and separate from the corporate transparency register requirements under the Business Corporations Act. A corporation must comply with both requirements, if applicable.
Who does this apply to?
The Registry’s new requirements apply to individuals and relevant corporations, trusts, and partnerships who are registered owners of an “interest in land” prior to November 30, 2020 and continue to own that land.
Under the LOTA most corporations and partnerships are considered relevant corporations or relevant partnerships. Under the LOTA, a relevant trust includes bare trusts and family trusts, among others.
The LOTA does not apply to individuals who own their property in their own personal names (i.e. residential property), unless you are holding the property as a trustee or part of a partnership.
What is considered an “interest in land”?
The LOTA defines an interest in land as an estate in fee simple; a life estate in land; a right to occupy land under a lease that has a term of more than 10 years; a right under an agreement for sale to occupy land, or require the transfer of an estate in fee simple; a prescribed estate, right or interest.
Specific professional advice should be obtained prior to the implementation of any suggestion contained in this article. Contact your Crowe MacKay advisor for more information.