Property Transfer Tax BC

Everything You Need to Know About Paying PTT in British Columbia

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Written By: Mariko Baerg, REALTOR of Bridgewell Real Estate Group
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Closing Costs can be confusing, and it’s important that you know what to expect when you’re home hunting.

This blog post goes through everything that you need to know about property transfer tax BC along with how much it is, possible exemptions, and when you have to pay it.

Regardless of whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, this blog post is to make property transfer tax crystal clear.

What is Property Transfer Tax BC?

The Property Transfer Tax (PTT) in British Columbia is a land registration tax paid by a property buyer when a property title is registered at the Land Title and Survey Authority (LTSA).  To be clear, sellers do not pay the property transfer tax, rather buyers of the home have to pay as they are gaining an interest in the property upon title registration. (Also referred to as the completion date)

property transfer tax bc

How much is property transfer tax in BC? (Updated June 2018)

The amount of tax you pay is based on the fair market value of the land and improvements (e.g. buildings) on the date of registration unless you purchase a pre-sold strata unit.

If you are a Canadian citizen or Permanent resident, the property transfer tax is as follows: 

As a buyer, you then pay the tax one-time at the time of registration, unless you qualify for an exemption. Without any exemption, the tax structure is as follows:

  • 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
  • if the property is residential, a further 2% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $3,000,000

If you are considered a foreign buyer/entity, then you are subject to AN ADDITIONAL foreign buyer property transfer tax: 

In addition to the property transfer tax of 1% on the 1st $200,000/2% on the balance up to $2,000,000/3% on the balance greater than $2,000,000/2% on the portion greater than $3,000,000, foreign buyers are also subject to the following:

  • The tax amount is 20% of the fair market value of your proportionate share of the purchased property.

Calculation Examples – How do I calculate property transfer tax?:

Example One: Purchase price $750,000

If you are purchasing a residential property for $750,000, the tax paid is $13,000

  • 1% on the first $200,000 = $2,000
  • 2% on portion greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2,000,000 = $11,000 ($750,000 – $200,000 = $550,000 X 2% = $11,000)
  • For a purchase price of $750,000 there is no portion above $3,000,000 – so this taxable rate does not apply
  • TOTAL PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX DUE: $2,000 + $11,000 = $13,000

Example Two: Purchase price $4,500,000

If you are purchasing a residential property for $4,500,000, the tax paid is $143,000.

  • 1% on the first $200,000 = $2,000
  • 2% on portion greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2,000,000 = $36,000 ($2,000,000 – $200,000 = $1,800,000 X 2% = $36,000)
  • 3% on portion greater than $2,000,000 = $75,000 ($4,500,000 – $2,000,000 = $2,500,000 X 3% = $75,000)
  • A further 2% on the portion greater than $3,000,000 = $30,000 ($4,500,000 – $3,000,000 = $1,500,000 X 2% = $30,000)
  • TOTAL PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX DUE: $2,000 + $36,000 + $75,000 + $30,000 = $143,000


First Time Home Buyers Property Transfer Tax Exemption

To help enter in to the market, the first time home buyer’s (FTHB) program gives an exemption to the property transfer tax in the case that you can qualify.

You qualify for a full refund if:

  • You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • You’ve lived in BC for 12 consecutive months before the date the property is registered; or
  • You’ve filed 2 income tax returns as a BC resident in the last 6 years;
  • You have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere, anytime; and
  • You have never received a first time home buyers’ exemption or refund.
  • Your property meets the exemption requirements as well.

Your property qualifies for a full refund if:

  • The property has a fair market value that does not exceed $500,000
  • The land is equal to or less than 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres)
  • The property will be used as a principal residence.

You may qualify for a partial refund if:

  • The property has a fair market value of between $500,001-$524,999. (is less than $525,000)
  • The land is greater than 0.5 hectares.
  • A portion of the land is used for commercial purposes or there are other homes on your land (only your primary residence is eligible).

Newly Built Homes Property Transfer Tax Exemption

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.  There’s a partial exemption for property with fair market value of $750,000 – $800,000.

property transfer tax british columbia

Vacant Land Property Transfer Tax Exemption

If you registered a vacant lot and paid the tax, you may apply for a refund if you have:

  • built a new home on the land worth $750,000 or less;
  • moved into the home as a principal residence within one year of registering the property; and
  • meet the qualifications for the Newly Built Home Exemption.

Other Property Transfer Tax Exemptions

There are many PTT exemptions, including family exemptions, for example:

  • transfer of a principal residence
  • transfer of a recreational residence
  • transfer resulting from a marriage breakdown
  • transfer of a family farm involving individuals
  • transfer of a family farm to or from a family farm corporation

For more info information on property taxes and what is taxable, read this blog: Taxable Property Transactions in BC


So it is a property tax ,right? Is property transfer tax and property tax the same thing?

NO! Property transfer tax should not be confused with annual property taxes. Annual property taxes are paid yearly for each property you own or have a registered interest in to fund services in your area. The property transfer tax is paid one time when the title is transferred from the seller to the buyer.

Sometimes, people think that the mortgage company has already factored in the property transfer tax to their payment. However, this is not the case. The mortgage company can factor in your annual property taxes to the monthly mortgage payment; however, because the property transfer tax is a one time fee the mortgage companies DO NOT factor this in to the monthly payment.

Please note that when you purchase a home you will have to factor in both the annual property taxes (may be a debit or a credit depending on your adjustment dates on the contract) AND the property transfer tax.

What transactions are subject to property transfer tax?

Taxable transactions include:

  • transfer of fee simple
  • right to purchase or agreement for sale
  • lease or lease modification agreements
  • life estate
  • foreclosure
  • Crown grant
  • escheat, forfeiture or quit claim
  • transfer as a result of corporate reorganization

What is fair market value?

In most cases the property transfer tax basis of fair market value is the purchase price. In some cases where there is no monetary exchange, such as an inheritance, the fair market value is usually based on BC property assessment.

For more information on fair market value and what you are charged, read this blog: Fair Market Value Information in Real Estate

Is PTT charged if no money has changed hands? What if I inherited my property?

Yes, tax is charged on the fair market value at the date of registration regardless of the purchase price, unless you qualify for an exemption. For example, some transactions that are taxed even when no money changes hands may include: gift of property, change from tenancy in common to joint tenancy or vice versa, transfer of property between a company and its shareholders.

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. Make sure that you are not on title for the property your spouse has.

How does the tax apply to transfers between joint tenants?

If a registered fee-simple ownership of a property is held in joint tenancy, tax is charged on the portion of the interest in the property being transferred.

What happens if I cheat?

If you cheat, you have to take the risk of the CRA finding out in the case that you are audited. An example of cheating would be stating that the property is your primary residence if you had an exemption, when you are actually renting it out. An audit will identify any transactions where tax obligation may have been done incorrectly. 

What happens if I just don’t pay the tax?

You will have to face the consequences, because your transaction may not be registered.

Property Transfer Taxes aren’t the only costs you will have when buying a home. Read our Costs of Buying a House in BC post to find out all the other expenses you will find in the home buying process. From taxes, to insurance, to legal fees, there are more expenses to budget for.

If you’re looking for a realtor to help you through the purchasing process to ensure that everything from contracts to closing costs is crystal clear, then give us a call at 604-765-0376. Prefer text? 604-319-0200 or email! We will walk you through everything you need to know about property transfer tax, GST, closing costs, and more – along with find you your new dream home!

Make the home buying process straight-forward from the start. Talk to one of our realtors today.


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