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Critics upset with new Nova Scotia property taxes for non-residents

Some out-of-province property owners in Nova Scotia are frustrated they are the target of new taxes unveiled in the recent provincial budget.

Under the tax measures, which took effect April 1, non-residents who buy property and do not move to the province within six months of the closing date have to pay a transfer tax of five per cent of the property's value.

And a property tax of $2 per $100 of assessed value of residential properties owned by non-residents is also being levied. The tax doesn't apply to buildings with more than three units or to those rented to Nova Scotia residents year-round.

The province is justifying the move as a way to make housing more affordable and attainable for Nova Scotians.

“I understand it’s stirred up a lot of emotions,” said Premier Tim Houston. “And as I say, nobody likes to pay more tax so we’re sympathetic to that, but we have obligations to provide services to Nova Scotians.”

Realtor Piers Baker calls it un-Canadian, and believes a better solution is to increase taxes on property owners who have more than one property.

“Because a small portion of owners own a large portion of properties,” said Baker.

He says he’s already been getting calls from seasonal homeowners looking to sell.

“Now we’re going to have a surge of properties come on the market which means that everybody’s properties is going to go down in value, which means the assessments are going to go down, which mean the tax collected is going to go down.”

The province says the tax hike would apply to 27,000 properties and take in about $81 million.

With files from the Canadian Press. Top Stories

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