all you need to know about bc's property transfer tax
How much is the PTT?
The PTT is charged on the fair market value of a property at a rate of:
- 1% on the first $200,000
- 2% on the balance up to and including $2,000,000
- 3% on the balance greater than $2,000,000
Buyers of pre-sold strata units will typically pay the PTT on the total consideration paid for the unit, not the fair market value on the date the title is registered. There are PTT exemptions for new homes (see below.)
The total consideration is the entire amount paid to acquire the property, including the price of the unit plus fees for upgrades or additions, or any premiums for the assignment of a written agreement.
Once a developer files a strata plan at the LTSA, whoever registers the transfer pays the PTT.
Effective August 2, 2016, an additional PTT charged at a rate of 15% of the fair market value applies to residential property transfers to foreign entites in Metro Vancouver.
Foreign entities are transferees that are foreign nationals, corporations or taxable trustees.
The additional tax applies on the foreign entity's proportionate share of any applicable residential property transfer, even when the transaction may normally be exempt from the PTT. This includes transactions between related individuals, a transfer resulting from an amalgamation, a transfer to a surviving joint tenant, and a transfer where the transferee is or becomes a trustee in relation to the property, even if the trust does not change. The 15% PTT does not apply to trusts that are mutual fund trusts, real estate investment trusts or specified investment flow-through trusts.
The First Time Home Buyers’ (FTHB) Program gives a PTT exemption to eligible first time home buyers.
To qualify for a full exemption, first time buyers must:
- be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
- have lived in BC for 12 consecutive months before the date the property is registered; or
- have filed 2 income tax returns as a BC resident in the last 6 years;
- have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere, anytime; and
- have never received a first time home buyers' exemption or refund.
Newly built homes
There’s a PTT exemption for newly built homes with a fair market value of up to $750,000, including a house constructed on vacant land, a new apartment in a newly built condominium building, a manufactured home on vacant land, and other newly built homes. There are also occupancy requirements.
To apply for the Newly Built Home Exemption, enter exemption code 49 on the Special Property Transfer Tax Return when the property is registered at a land title office.
If you registered a vacant lot and paid the tax, you may apply for a refund if you have:
If you need help, phone 250-387-0604 or toll-free phone Inquiry BC at 604-660-2421 and ask to be transferred to 250-387-0604.
There are many PTT exemptions, including family exemptions, for example:
If buyers don’t comply there are penalties that can be levied.
In 1987, the PTT was brought in as a luxury tax. Just 5% of homes were taxed the 2% portion (over $200,000). Today, more than 95% of homes pay the 2% portion.
Q + As
- Can I re-qualify as a first time home buyer? No.However, the federal Home Buyers’ Program allows home buyers to requalify after four years.
- Do I qualify for the First Time Home Buyers Program if I’ve never owned a property but my spouse has? Yes. It depends on the percentage of the home owned by each of the spouses.
- Guide to the First Time Home Buyers' Program (opens a 2-page PDF)
- Q & A
- Additional Property Transfer Tax on Residential Property Transfers to Foreign Entities in the Greater Vancouver Regional District
- PTT Help Centre (scroll down)
- REBGV PTT website
- BC Property Transfer Tax Office 1-888-355-2700 (Option #2)
- Here is a complete list of forms and publications.
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