REAL ESTATE AND H.S.T
Here's some general information about Ontario, Canada's real estate market and the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). However, please note that real estate laws and tax regulations may change over time, so it's essential to verify the most up-to-date information from official sources or consult a qualified professional.
Ontario Real Estate Market:
The real estate market in Ontario, particularly in cities like Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), has been known for its significant growth and high demand. Property prices have historically been on the rise, making it a competitive market for buyers.
The real estate market in Ontario is influenced by various factors, including economic conditions, population growth, interest rates, government policies, and the overall state of the Canadian economy. Housing supply and demand dynamics play a significant role in determining property prices in the region.
Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) and Real Estate in Ontario:
The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is a combination of the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the provincial sales tax. As of my last update, Ontario implemented HST on July 1, 2010. The HST applies to various goods and services, including new residential properties, with some exceptions and rebates. Here are some key points related to HST and real estate in Ontario:
1. Resale Residential Properties: The sale of resale residential properties (previously owned properties) is generally exempt from HST. Instead, they may be subject to the provincial Land Transfer Tax (LTT) and the municipal Land Transfer Tax (where applicable) upon purchase.
2. New Residential Properties: The sale of new residential properties is subject to HST. However, there are some rebates available to reduce the HST burden for eligible buyers. The New Home HST Rebate is designed to help offset the HST cost for individuals who purchase a new home as their primary residence. Eligibility criteria and rebate amounts may vary, so it's important to check with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or a tax professional for the latest information.
3. Commercial Properties: Commercial properties are generally subject to HST upon purchase.
4. Renting Residential Properties: Residential rental properties are generally exempt from HST. However, commercial rentals may be subject to HST.
5. Land and Vacant Lots: The sale of land or vacant lots may be subject to HST, depending on the circumstances. There might be certain exemptions or rebates available in specific situations.
It's crucial to consult a qualified tax professional or a real estate expert to get detailed and up-to-date information on HST and its implications on real estate transactions in Ontario, as the rules and regulations can be complex and subject to change. Additionally, for the most current real estate market trends and conditions, consider referring to local real estate boards, market reports, and reputable real estate agents in the area.
Bottom line – the general rule is that HST is applicable to any sale of property unless it qualifies for one of two exemptions: used residential property or personal use property. This is determined by how the seller used the property, and not how the purchaser intends to use the property. The Agreement of Purchase and Sale should clearly state whether HST is included in or in addition to the purchase price. You should also get your lawyer’s or accountant’s advice regarding whether HST is payable if you are uncertain.
When buying new residential housing from a builder, HST must be paid at the rate of 13% of the purchase price. There are two applicable rebates, if you qualify: the provincial rebate, and the federal rebate. The federal rebate is 36% of the GST portion of the HST paid (5% of the purchase price), up to a maximum of $6,300. The provincial rebate is 75% of the provincial portion of HST (8% of the purchase price) that is required to be paid, up to a maximum of $24,000. This results in a total possible rebate of $30,000. To qualify, the rebate must be claimed within two years of the purchase of the new home, and the home must be used as the primary place of residence by the purchaser or their immediate family.
Often, a builder will include HST in the purchase price, with the condition that you will qualify for these rebates and assign them to the builder. This means that you will sign any required paperwork for the builder to apply for these rebates on your behalf, and they will receive the funds for the rebate.
Used Residential Property:
When you are buying or selling used residential property, the property is exempt from HST. Examples of properties that would qualify for this exemption include detached houses, semi-detached houses, row houses, residential condominium units, mobile homes, and multi-unit residences. To qualify, the property must be lived in as a place of residence, or if it was vacant, that it was last used as a place of residence. Note: If the property has been used as a short-term rental property, this may trigger HST. You will need to discuss this with your lawyer and accountant to assist you in determining the HST implications of the sale of this property.
Whether or not HST is payable on the sale of vacant land will depend on how the seller used the property. If the seller used the property for personal use, no HST will be payable. Personal use property includes property owned by an individual that is not used primarily in a business or sold in the course of a business. That said, if a property has been subdivided or severed, the sale by the individual of one or more of those parts will generally be subject to HST (unless the purchaser is related to the seller and buying the property for personal use).
Generally, any sale of farmland that has been used by the seller in a farming business will be subject to HST. There is an exemption where the farmer sells the farmland to a relative for his or her personal use and enjoyment. There can also be an exemption for a portion of the farmland if part of the farmland is a home and yard that has been used for personal use. When purchasing or selling farmland, we recommend that you speak with your local accountant with respect to your HST options.
Commercial Real Estate:
When buying commercial real property, HST is applicable at 13% of the purchase price. Special rules apply when the purchaser of commercial property is an HST registrant. This will allow the purchaser to not remit HST to the seller, but rather directly to Revenue Canada. This obligation to pay will be offset by the input tax credit which can be claimed by the purchaser. When purchasing or selling commercial real property, we recommend that you speak with your accountant with respect to your HST options.