• Changes to the BC Property Transfer Tax Regime
  • May 31, 2016 | Authors: Susan Do; Allison Godey
  • Law Firm: Singleton Urquhart LLP - Vancouver Office
  • On February 16 the B.C. government announced the 2016 budget and introduced a number of significant changes with respect to the province’s property transfer tax (PTT) regime. Property transfer tax is payable in accordance with the Property Transfer Tax Act, which provides that PTT applies to any transfer of title to real estate in B.C., subject to certain exemptions.

    Previously, property transfer tax was calculated at a rate of 1% on the first $200,000 of the fair market value of a property and 2% on the remaining portion. A new tax rate of 3% is now applicable to the transfer of properties with a fair market value greater than $2,000,000. Accordingly, PTT will now be charged at a rate of:
    • 1% on the first $200,000;
    • 2% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $200,000, up to and including $2,000,000; and
    • 3% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $2,000,000.
    The above rates apply to all transfers registered on or after February 17, 2016; they do not apply retroactively to transfers registered before February 17, 2016.

    The B.C. government also established a new exemption from the payment of property transfer tax with respect to newly built homes, including, for example, a house or a new apartment in a newly built condominium building. In order to qualify for the exemption, the purchaser must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and must move into the home within 92 days after the date when the transfer is registered in the applicable Land Title Office. As well, the purchaser must occupy the home as their principal residence for not less than one year after the registration date, subject to certain exceptions.

    If a transaction qualifies for the exemption, a purchaser of a home with a fair market value of up to $750,000 is eligible for a full exemption from the tax. Further, a purchaser of a home with a fair market value of up to $800,000 is eligible for a partial exemption. Similar to the new PTT tax rate, the newly built home exemption is not available retroactively and may only be claimed with respect to transfers registered on or after February 17, 2016.

    Effective immediately, purchasers claiming the newly built home exemption will be required to comply with the following requirements:

    (a) disclosure of the purchaser’s citizenship, with a corporate purchaser required to disclose the citizenship of each of its directors; and
    (b) disclosure of any bare trust relationship, with the purchaser also required to provide the name, address and citizenship of the beneficial owner(s).

    These disclosure requirements will apply to all purchasers in the near future.