Property Transfer Tax Exemption BC

How to Avoid B.C. Property Transfer Tax & Exemption Eligibility

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Written By: Mariko Baerg, REALTOR of Bridgewell Real Estate Group
If you’re looking for a realtor to help you purchase a property, call me today

Understanding closing costs you have to pay when buying a home is important, but another factor to buying is also knowing what exemptions you have available to you to save money. 

In this blog you’ll find out the property transfer tax exemptions in BC that are available to you, as well as the PTT qualifications so you can find out if you’re eligible. 

Keep reading for everything you need to know about property transfer tax exemptions in BC!

property transfer tax exemption bc saving

Property Transfer Tax Exemption BC

On the purchase of a property in BC, property transfer tax is a tax due at completion and registration of the property transfer that is the responsibility of the buyer. However, there are property transfer tax exemptions that are offered by the government for particular situations. In B.C., the most common property transfer tax exemptions used are:

  • First Time Home Buyer Property Transfer Tax Exemption
  • Newly Built Home Property Transfer Tax Exemption
  • Family Property Transfer Tax Exemption
  • Vacant Land Property Transfer Tax Refund

In order to understand the property transfer tax exemption in BC, it is first important to know how to calculate property transfer tax. If you are a Canadian citizen or Permanent resident, the general property transfer tax calculation 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

The amount of tax you pay is based on the fair market value of the property, which is most cases is simply the purchase price. In some cases where there is no monetary exchange, such as an inheritance, the fair market value is usually based on a third party appraisal or possibly BC property assessment.

It is important to note that if you are considered a foreign buyer/entity, then you have to pay an additional property transfer tax of 20% of the fair market value of your proportionate share of the property.

For a property transfer tax calculator 2020, you can also check out our easy to use tax calculator: Property Transfer Tax Calculator

First Time Home Buyer Property Transfer Tax Exemption

There are some principal residence exemption options for buyers that help to waive property transfer tax, most notably the first time home buyer PTT exemption.

To help enter in to the market, the first time home buyer 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. 

There are also partial refunds available for properties with a fair market value of less than $525,000.

Ultimately, as a first time home buyer, it is very important that you are aware of the extra benefits and exemptions available to you. The property transfer tax savings on the full exemption is up to $8000!

In addition to the PTT exemption, you also have RRSP benefits and potential GST rebates. For more on tips for first time buyers, check out this blog: Tips for First Time Home Buyers 

Newly Built Homes Property Transfer Tax Exemption

Newly built homes are most commonly referred to in the sense of being a presale condo or townhouse; however, this may also include a house constructed on vacant land, a substantially renovated home, a manufactured home on vacant land, and other newly built homes.

A lot of people wonder if they have to pay property transfer tax on the purchase of a new home. The answer is yes, but the threshold for the newly built homes PTT exemption is much higher than that of the FTHB exemption.

For buyers purchasing a newly built home, there is a property transfer tax b.c. exemption for properties that have a fair market value up to $750,000. These new home exemption is regardless of whether you are a first time home buyer or not.

For the newly built home exemption to apply, you have to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and be purchasing the property as your primary residence.

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

Family Property Transfer Tax Exemption

In order to qualify for the exemption, the member/purchaser in which the property is being transferred to must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, as well as meet the definition of a related individual.

For the family property transfer tax exemption, a related individual is considered to be:

  • A spouse, child, grandchild, great-grandchild, parent, grandparent or great-grandparent,
  • The spouse of your child, grandchild or great-grandchild, and
  • The child, parent, grandparent or great-grandparent of your spouse 

It is important to note that for the family property transfer tax exemption, a sister, brother, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew are not considered to be qualifying related individuals to avoid property transfer tax.

Furthermore, the property must meet the following requirements:

  • one of the parties must have used the property as a principal residence in the past six months
  • the building is designed to accommodate three families or less
  • the improvements on the land are classified as residential by BC Assessment
  • the land is 0.5 hectares or smaller

Vacant Land Property Transfer Tax Refund

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.

There may also be other less common exemptions available. For more info information on property transfer tax and what may qualify for an exemption, you can also refer to the government’s guide for Property Transfer Tax Exemptions List in BC

If you’re looking for a real estate expert to help guide you through the costs of buying as well as potential exemptions to help you save money, we are here to help. Start a conversation by calling 604-765-0376. Prefer text? 604-319-0200 or email [email protected]

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


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