Vancouver agent under investigation for advocating tax evasion

A Vancouver-based industry professional is now being investigated by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia after supposedly advising his clients on how to successfully go around the province’s newly imposed 15 per cent foreign buyer’s tax.
Real estate agent Mike Stewart was found to have sent emails to clients engaging in presale. The emails allegedly advised these clients to “assign the purchase contract to a friend or family member who is a citizen or resident,” reported CTV Vancouver.
Furthermore, Stewart supposedly proposed in the email that he might yield profits for the client by selling the presale to a third party.
Premier Christy Clark roundly condemned the practice in a July 27 press conference.
“Realtors should not be doing that, and they should be informing their clients that every single one of these transactions could be audited. Anybody trying to find loopholes is going to discover out very quickly that those loopholes don’t stand up,” Clark said.
The Real Estate Council announced that it has warned Stewart to stop sending out the emails, adding that it has started its investigation on the matter.
“The Province is introducing and will be enforcing stringent non-compliance penalties,” the Council stated. “Under the legislation, any individual who fails to pay the additional tax, or who participates in providing incorrect information to avoid the tax could be liable for fines of up to $100,000 and/or two years in prison.”
As of press time, Stewart has not commented on the issue.

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