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Back to the blog March 24, 2017

Province Exempts BC Provincial Nominees from Paying 15% Foreign Buyer’s Property Transfer Tax

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by Karen Arscott

Non-Canadian citizens or permanent residents pay an additional property transfer tax when acquiring a share in a residential property located in the greater Vancouver area. The tax is payable at 15% of the fair market value of the share, unless an exemption applies.

Are there Exemptions to Paying the 15% Foreign Buyer’s Tax?

An individual who is a confirmed B.C. Provincial Nominee may be exempt from paying the 15% tax.

To qualify for the exemption:

  1. You must be a confirmed B.C. Provincial Nominee before the date the property transfer is registered with the Land Title Office.
  2. The property must be your principal residence.
  3. You must not be a foreign corporation or taxable trustee.

Can you claim a Refund if you have Already paid the 15% Foreign Buyer’s Tax?

You may be able to claim a refund if:

  1. You were confirmed as a B.C. Provincial Nominee between August 2, 2016 and March 17, 2017.
  2. You became a permanent resident or Canadian citizen within one year of the date the property was registered with the land Title Office; you used the property as your principal residence; you moved in within 92 days of the date of registration; and you continued to live there for at least one year.
  3. You paid the additional tax in error.

Important to Note:

  1. You can claim the refund only once.
  2. You must apply for the refund after the first anniversary of the date the property transfer was registered, and within 18 months from the date the property transfer was registered at the Land Title Office.
  3. Property transfers can be audited up to six years from the date the transfer is registered at the Land Title Office, and they are routinely carried out.
  4. There are penalties for providing false information including the unpaid tax plus interest, a fine of up to $200,000, and up to 2 years imprisonment.