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Ever heard about the Land Owner Transparency Act (LOTA)?

What you need to know about the Land Owner Transparency Act (LOTA).

Filing deadline is November 30, 2022!

On November 30, 2020, the Land Owner Transparency Act (LOTA) came into effect and with it the Land Owner Transparency Registry (LOTR).  The Province introduced the LOTA in order to increase transparency and crack down on hidden ownership in B.C.’s real estate market.

With every change in title to a property in BC, a transparency declaration must be filed with the Land Title and Survey Authority of BC (LTSA).  In addition, all reporting bodies must file a transparency report by November 30, 2022, disclosing who the interest holders of the property are, regardless of whether the registered ownership changes or not.

In general terms, a reporting body is:

  • a corporation
  • a trustee of a trust, or
  • a partner of a partnership.

The type of information that must be filed includes the full name, citizenship, country of residence and principal residence address, date of birth, social insurance number and tax number.

Practically speaking, it means that all properties owned by a company, or properties held in trust for another party (including family trust and bare trusts) or a partnership must file the transparency report.

Family trusts

Beneficiaries of a discretionary family trust are often contingent beneficiaries who have no fixed interest or entitlement from the family trust. The government takes the position that any individual referenced by name as a beneficiary of a family trust and who may receive the benefit of the trust’s interest in land, whether on a contingent or a discretionary basis, would be considered a beneficial owner and would need to have the information disclosed on the LOTR. It means that the transparency report must be updated each time beneficiaries are added or removed.

In addition, if the family trust is a shareholder of the company that owns the real estate, the beneficiaries of the family trust must be reported on the LOTR.

 

Not filing has consequences

A failure to file a new transparency report by the deadline or a failure to file a change to any relevant information may result in a fine of not more than the greater of (i) $25,000 for individuals or $50,000 for persons other than individuals, and (ii) 15% of the assessed value of the property to which the transparency report relates.

Therefore, we recommend contacting your legal representative to take immediate action well before November 30, 2022.

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