Do You Pay Tax When You Sell Your House?

Do You Pay Tax When You Sell Your House?

If you are thinking about downsizing and selling your current property, you are likely wondering what taxes are associated with the upcoming sale. We are here to answer all of your questions—but first, make sure you’ve covered all your bases with our handy Home Sellers Checklist, and don’t hesitate to reach out to West Haven Group for all of your listing needs.

Now, let’s focus on the question at hand – do you have to pay tax when you sell your house? This isn’t a simple yes or no answer but we will help break it down.


Let’s start with the concept of Capital Gains

As we outlined in our blog, Capital Gains in Vancouver- How to Reduce Your Taxable Income, a common misconception of capital gains is that it is a tax in and of itself. However, there is no ‘capital gains tax.’ In its most simple form, you incur a ‘capital gain’ when you sell your property, for more than you purchased it for. Conversely, if you sell your property for less, you would incur a capital loss and can use that loss to offset other capital gains or carry it forward to offset capital gains in future years.

So, when do you have to pay tax and how much is it?

Since the capital gain is a form of personal income, you are required to pay tax on it…sometimes.

Whether you have to pay tax on this comes down to your use of the property. Has this property been your principal residence for every year that you’ve owned it? If so, then you are exempt from paying taxes on any gain from the sale. However, it is crucial that you still report the sale of your property on your income tax and benefit return in order for the CRA to recognize the principal residence exemption.

If your property was not your principal residence for the entirety of ownership, then you have to report the part of the capital gain for these years. This is why it is important to talk to an accountant and a real estate agent if you are considering buying another property to make sure you have a smart plan in place for your properties to protect yourself and your investments.

If it is an investment property, a rental, or a vacation home then you likely can expect to pay capital gains upon selling if you make a profit—although there are fees and deductions that will affect the gain itself, such as costs associated with buying and selling.

In terms of the actual amount, in Canada, you typically have to include 50% of the capital gains as income on your tax return. Keep in mind though that there are differences based on the provincial and national tax rates, as well as your personal tax bracket due to the taxable portion of your capital gain being added to your annual income—this is not a stand-alone payment.


Other types of tax

For this particular article, we’ve focused purely on the taxes you may have to pay upon selling your home but keep in mind that there are other taxes when it comes to property ownership including:

  • Property Transfer Tax: When you purchase or gain an interest in a property, you have to pay the transfer tax based on the market value of the property at the date of registration unless you qualify for an exemption.

  • Annual property taxes: Annual property taxes are paid for each property you own to fund services in your area.

  • Withholding Taxes: If you are a non-resident selling property in Canada, your lawyer is required to hold in trust 25% of the gross proceeds of the sale for your share of the property, until the issuance of the Certificate of Compliance by the CRA.

If you want to learn more – check out another article from our capital gains series, How Do I Report Capital Gains in BC?

We are here to help

While West Haven Group is a team of real estate specialists, please keep in mind we are not tax professionals. For more in-depth details on this, we recommend reading the Government of Canada’s Disposing of your principal residence article and also seeking advice from an accountant.  Please reach out to discuss your property needs, we can’t wait to connect. 

Evaluating Investment Properties in Vancouver: Cashflow and Profitability

Evaluating Investment Properties in Vancouver: Cashflow and Profitability

For first time investors, property investing can be a safe and tangible means of wealth creation. It allows you to leverage a downpayment to acquire an asset, and if you find the right property can generate both income and profit. However, there are a number of variables that need to be considered in order to determine accurate property cashflows, equity, and profitability, to decide if the investment is worth it.


Property Investing in Vancouver: Getting Started

Property investing is unique in that it allows you to leverage a smaller position (your downpayment) to acquire an asset that can be 5-6 times higher in value. For many it is an attractive, time-tested and relatively safe investment to make. However, just owning and renting a property doesn’t mean that it is generating a positive cash flow, nor that it is going to be a profitable investment on your part.

Rather, investment properties need to be evaluated on several criteria

  1. Cash flow
  2. Likelihood of appreciation
  3. Ease of renting
  4. Unit/building expenses
  5. Personal element

Your agent is the best source of information for a lot of this data and should have extensive knowledge of the state of the current market, neighbourhoods, and new developments in the area you’re interested in.


Cashflows: Positive, Neutral and Negative

Cash flow looks at the total flow of cash moving in and out of the investment. That includes any rental income, as well as deducting expenses such as strata, repayments, repairs, property taxes etc… Cash flow can be positive, neutral or negative, and can affect the overall profitability of your investment.

  • Positive cashflow: your investment is generating more from rental income than your monthly expenses and payments, generating additional income for you.

  • Neutral cashflow: the rental income is enough to cover all expenses/payments, but not to generate income

  • Negative cashflow: your payments/expenses are more than your rental income. This requires additional financial input to cover repayments.

In Vancouver, while rental rates are high, so are property prices. Positive cash flow to any significant level at the outset is impossible unless you’re putting down 35% or more (approx.). However, savvy investors love investing in Vancouver because of the number and quality of tenants, the trajectory of this world-renown city, and the historical performance of these investments.

Furthermore, a neutral cash flow will still see about 60% of each mortgage payment being paid towards your equity, which can make the property quite profitable when taken into account. Whilst positive cash flow may not be available immediately, it can become possible after principal repayments have been made, and depending on the intended term of the investment could still reap benefits long term.

What Can Affect My Cash Flows

There are a number of variables that can affect the cash flow and profitability of your property investment in Vancouver. These can affect how much rent you’ll be able to charge, your expenses, and whether there will be demand for your property and it’s location.

  • Market Variables
    -Is there a strong rental market?
    -Competition/availability in the area?
    -Standard of living
    -Proximity to amenities
    -Will a new development affect your ability to let?

  • Property Variables
    -Building expenses and maintenance costs
    Property taxes
    -Contingencies for damage/repairs

  • Financial Variables
    -Rental income
    -Purchase price

Evaluating a property investment should try to quantify and qualify as many of these factors as possible. The more informed your decision, the more likely you are to benefit from the investment.

calculating cashflows on Vancouver property investments.jpg

Calculating Profitability of Vancouver Property Investments

To figure out what sort of profit could be made from your property as a rental the main factor to consider is your downpayment amount. This would in turn give you a rough idea of how much your monthly mortgage rate would be. Along with this, you factor in things like strata fees, yearly property tax etc… to give you a base amount per month.

Right now mortgage rates are incredibly low which is a huge bonus for you as a buyer. Access to finance and lower repayments can contribute to a larger investment on your part, or reduce the burden of the investment.

Your downpayment will affect your mortgage rate and amount, but with those figures, you can calculate your monthly costs.

Monthly costs = mortgage payment (governed by downpayment size and interest rate) plus strata fees, plus annual property tax amount, divided by 12.

Once you know your monthly costs you can work with your agent to analyse market data, such as current rental prices, property prices, neighbourhoods, and individual properties and match them up to determine if your property would be

a) cash flow positive, and

b) determine if your investment would be profitable.

What About Building Equity?

A positive flow of cash is only one of the ways to turn a profit from property investment. Whilst it can make it more attractive, using the available data and your agent’s knowledge/experience, you can build a thesis as to the likelihood of value appreciation, and determine whether the equity acquired/value built is worth the upfront capital.

A good rule of thumb is to plan to hold onto a property for a minimum of 5 years. This obviously depends on many things, but ideally, you want to be in a position where you don’t have to sell at any particular time, just in case. Of course, it will also be dictated by the evolution of your personal circumstances over time.

Below is a graph of the MLS HPI pricing index. The HPI price is the board’s way of most accurately calculating true average prices. Downtown falls under the area of ‘Vancouver West’.

If we look at Vancouver West (west of Quebec Street – one block west of Main Street) apartments, we can see that over the past 10 years the HPI price increased from about $430k to about $790k. The annualised rate of return is about 6.1% based strictly on this.

However, this does not take into account the ‘leverage’ aspect of real estate investing (using 20% of purchase for an asset worth 5x as much) nor does it take into account the assured equity building each month with every mortgage payment made.

More accurately, we would need to use:

  • the initial cash investment of 20% of $430,000 ($86,000), and compare that to

  • the end equity position (790k-430k = $360k)

  • plus let’s say about $1,000 paid toward the equity component of the mortgage every month for 120 months ($120,000).

So, we start with $86,000 cash and end up with equity of $480,000. The actual annualised rate of return would be 262% in this example. If you were to sell, the profitability would be just under $400,000, before closing costs and expenses are taken into account.

Note: the formula used for annualised rate of return was [(ending value of investment/beginning value of the investment) to the exponent of (1 / 10 years)] – 1

Is Now a Good Time to Invest in Vancouver?

The property market in Vancouver over the past 10 years has been bullish. Strong demand has even seen the introduction of the City’s Vacancy (Empty Homes) tax in 2017, and the more recent provincial Speculation and Vacancy tax to try and increase supply.

More recently, 2019 saw a slower than usual Vancouver property market, until Q4 where we started to see renewed vitality. This transferred into 2020, and even with the pandemic, we have seen the Vancouver Real Estate market hold strong and continue to flourish.

In November of 2020 sales reached almost 25% above the 10-year average and we had a 3.4% increase in prices of apartments overall compared to November 2019.

Whilst we would expect property transactions in the Downtown core to stay a little slower while the world navigates COVID, we also expect vaccinations to see some normalcy return to the market, and see the return of higher demand.

Ultimately investing in real estate uses leverage to acquire a robust and tangible asset. Regardless of market forces, as the city of Vancouver continues to grow so too will the need for housing. However acquiring the right property can be the determining factor in deciding whether your property is the right investment, and a profitable one to boot.

Your agent is the best source of information when it comes to calculating cash flow, assessing the state of the market, and accounting for unknown or ill-considered variables. If you’re interested in property investing in Vancouver and would like more information, reach out and connect with us.

Property Taxes in Vancouver- Which Ones Do I Have To Pay?

Property Taxes in Vancouver- Which Ones Do I Have To Pay?

Vancouver has some of the lowest municipal property taxes in British Columbia. The actual tax rate varies year to year depending on the needs of the city, and the revenue collected is used to fund public services like schools, police, hospitals and more. However, there are also other taxes that may apply to your property, including the city’s own Vacancy (empty homes) Tax, and the more recently introduced provincial Speculation and Vacancy Tax, both of which may affect you if you don’t live in the property.

Property Taxes in Vancouver

Municipal Property Tax

Each year, property owners in Vancouver are subject to property tax, based on the fair and assessable value of their property. The rate for 2020 is $2.92568 per $1000 of taxable value. So the municipal property tax on a $600,000 property would equal $1755.

Regardless of whether you live in or lease your property, you are required to pay property taxes annually. In order to do so, you must submit a property status declaration, which will determine if you also need to pay the Empty Homes Tax.

Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax

The Empty Homes Tax was implemented in 2017 to return vacant properties to the rental market, lest they be subject to an additional tax of 1.25% of the property’s fair and assessable value.

This tax only applies to you if you have more than one property (assuming the one you are residing in is your principal residence) and the additional properties are vacant for more than 6 months of the year. Whilst there are some circumstantial exemptions, if you are not living in the house, the Empty Homes tax may indeed apply to your property.

For an in-depth explanation of the empty homes tax in Vancouver please see Vancouver’s Empty Home Tax Explained.

The Empty Homes Tax in Vancouver


B.C. Speculation and Vacancy Tax

A third property tax- the Speculation and Vacancy tax may also apply to your property in Vancouver if the property is not your primary residence, and is vacant for more than 6 months of the year. According to the B.C. government, the Speculation and Vacancy tax is ‘designed to discourage housing speculation and people from leaving homes vacant in B.C.’s major urban centres,’ like Vancouver.

As such, all property owners in the Metro Vancouver regional district must also complete a provincial property declaration (separate from the declaration required for the Empty Homes tax).

The tax rate itself varies depending upon your residential status. From 2019 onwards, the provincial Speculation and Vacancy tax rates are:

  • 2% of the properties assessable value if you are a foreign owner or satellite family

  • 0.5% for Canadian citizens or permanent residents

Do I Have To Pay Property Taxes in Vancouver if I Don’t Live in the House?

When it comes to which taxes you have to pay, and how much they equate to, it really depends on how you use the property. Regardless of how your property is used, you or whoever is listed on the property title will be subject to the annual municipal property tax.

If the property is leased, or occupied by yourself or your close family, it will not be subject to the additional taxes. However, if your Vancouver property is not listed as your primary residence, and is vacant for 6 months of the year or more, you will also be subject to both the Empty Homes Tax and the B.C. provincial Speculation and Vacancy Tax.

As an example, if you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, the tax on a $600,000 property (based on the most current rates) would be:

  1. Municipal tax = $1755 (as above)
  2. Empty Homes tax (1.25% of property value) = $7500
  3. Provincial empty homes tax (0.5% of property value) = $3000

Total annual property tax = $12, 225.

Similarly, if you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, your annual property taxes would be:

  1. Municipal tax = $1755
  2. Empty Homes tax (1.25% of property value) = $7500
  3. Provincial empty homes tax (2% of property value) = $12,000

Total annual property tax = $21, 255

Whilst there are some exemptions to these taxes, they will be applicable in most cases if the property is vacant and is not your primary residence. If you’re unsure whether they will apply to your property, or are interested in acquiring an additional property and want to understand the tax risks, reach out and connect with us.

Property Sales in B.C.- Do You Pay GST?

Property Sales in B.C.- Do You Pay GST?

In British Columbia, anytime a property is purchased, or a party ‘gains an interest’ in a property that is registered with the Land Title Office- there is a requirement to pay Property Transfer Tax (PTT). The actual amount varies depending on the circumstances of the purchase or transfer, and in some cases, the purchase will also incur Goods and Services Tax (GST).


When Does GST Apply to a Property Sale?

Generally speaking, GST is only charged on the sale of new homes in British Colombia. This includes newly constructed properties, such as pre-sale condos. Conversely, any property that has already been lived in and used for residential purposes will be exempt from GST, as it would have been paid when the property was new.

The GST rate in 2020 remains unchanged in B.C., at 5% of the properties fair and assessable value. This is usually the sale price, as it is assumed that this price was determined by a fair and open market.

As with many closing costs, this 5% is in addition to the cost of the property. However, some sales contracts may include full sales taxes in the transaction, which can include the GST, so it’s always important to check with your lawyer or notary before completing the payments.

There are some special circumstances where GST may apply to renovated properties, but this is only if a significant portion (90% or more) of the property has been redeveloped.

Does GST Apply to Vacant Land Sales in British Columbia?

When it comes to the sale of bare land in B.C., a number of mitigating factors may affect whether GST will also be charged on the sale. Generally, these factors revolve around who is selling the property, and how it was used prior to the sale. This also applies to any ‘excess land’ that is sold or associated with an existing property, such as where land is subdivided.

For example, if a property is sold by a corporation or partnership, it will always be subject to GST. Whereas a land sale by a non-profit will usually fall under an exemption. Similarly, if the land was held for personal use, and is sold by an individual or trust, it is generally exempt from GST.

Moreover, if the vacant land was used for business purposes, or the land was sold in unison with a business, it would be subject to GST. Similarly, if the vacant block of land is subdivided into more than two pieces it is also subject to the tax.

Vacant land sales in BC may be subject to GST.jpg

Are There Any Rebates Available for GST?

There are rebates available in some circumstances, however, these depend on the sale price/fair market value of your property. The rebate is 36% of the GST paid, provided that it meets the following conditions:

  • The property must be used as the principal residence. That means any home purchased for the purpose of investment or future retirement, it would not qualify.

  • The full rebate amount only applies to properties that are $350,000 or less.

  • Partial rebates are available on properties up to $450,000, with no rebate offered on new properties costing more than $450k. The partial rebates operate on a sliding scale, and online calculators are available to see how much GST you may incur.

  • The same 36% rebate can apply to new homes purchased with the intention of making it available for rent. However, the property must meet the above conditions, as well as a number of additional requirements, such as a minimum lease term of 12 months.

Unsure if you need to pay GST on your property purchase? At the West Haven Group, our experienced team can assist with all facets of the home buying process. For more information or advice, reach out and connect with us.

Property Ownership Part 2: Joint Tenants vs. Tenants in Common

Property Ownership Part 2: Joint Tenants vs. Tenants in Common

Although the use of ‘tenants’ can easily be confused with property rental, both joint tenancy and tenancy in common actually refer to a type of shared property ownership. For homeowners, choosing the form of ownership will dictate what happens to the property in the event of one owner passing, and can also affect the amount of tax to be paid at that time.

In part 2 of our property ownership property ownership series, we dive into the differences between joint tenants and tenants in common, to highlight the distinct differences between the two, how they affect your ownership of real estate, and how to decide which one is right for you.

Joint Tenants

Owning a property as ‘joint tenants’ is most commonly seen in a marriage or relationship, where both parties own equal portions of a property. This form of ownership carries with it the ‘right of survivorship,’ whereby the ownership automatically transfers to the surviving party, in the event that one of the owners passes away.

In B.C., joint tenancy also affords both owners full use and rights over the property. Upon the death of one person ownership of the property transfers to the remaining party, avoiding any probate fees and taxes that would usually be incurred. Similarly, if it happens that there are more than two parties to a joint tenancy agreement, the remaining ‘tenants’ receive the deceased’s interest in equal proportions in the event of one’s passing.

Although the right of survivorship avoids probate fees and capital gains tax, that tax will still have to be paid by the estate at the passing of the last survivor.

Tenants in Common

Unlike joint tenancy, tenancy in common does not come with the right of survivorship. It is more common whereby two or more parties purchase property as an investment, and fractional ownership is more prevalent. Key points of difference in tenancy in common agreements include:

  • Tenants can choose to own equal portions of a property, or ownership can be divided into any number of ways. For example, one owner may own 75% of the property, and another the remaining 25%. This may be useful in cases where owners make different contributions to the purchase.

  • Each tenant in common has the right, and freedom, to allocate their share of a property to another person via their will, a property transfer and even a sale. This is because ownership is fractionalised, and can therefore be ‘portioned’ and sold, without selling the entire property.

  • In the event of death of one or more parties, the transfer of ownership of their property portion will be subject to probate fees. Put simply, this fee is to obtain a grant of probate, which is used by the Land Title office to approve the transfer of ownership of the property, guarantee the validity of the deceased’s will, and conclusively manage any other stipulations/challenges against the estate.

In British Columbia, probate fees generally amount to 1.3-1.4% of the estates value. Whilst this may sound small, with the property price increases of the past decade it can actually be quite a substantial figure.

Typically if you are purchasing property with your spouse or de-facto partner, joint tenancy is the preferred choice. On the other hand, there are a number of reasons that people prefer tenancy in common ownership:

  • Purchasing property as an investment with people who are not intended to be beneficiaries.

  • Purchasing property as an investment where the size of each persons investment (and therefore their proportional ownership over the property) varies.

  • The ability to keep the investment separate and transferable in a will, which is most commonly used to provide for children from a previous marriage.

tenant-in-common agreements can be passed down to beneficiaries

Joint Tenants vs. Tenants in Common- Which One Is Right for Me?

Without having an in-depth conversation it is difficult to determine which form of joint ownership is best suited to your circumstances.

There are, however, a number of considerations which may affect your decision.

  1. Owning property as joint tenants will avoid probate fees upon one owners death, however owning property as tenants in common may give you access to a higher first home buyers grant (if/when available). This is because ownership in a tenants in common agreement gives you rights over a proportional amount of the property, and can therefore entitle each owner to the grant.
  2. If taking advantage of this grant (or simply in the event of a change of circumstances) property titles can be transferred into joint tenancy at a later date. However this may incur a property transfer tax and other fees, which should be taken into consideration.
  3. Purchasing property with another party does not automatically grant joint tenancy. Rather it must be stated in express terms that a joint tenancy agreement is in place, or it is assumed that the parties to the agreement are tenants in common. This is stipulated in the The Property Law Act in B.C.
  4. Joint tenancy agreements can be ‘severed’ under a number of circumstances, and revert back to a tenants in common agreement, without the notification, consent, or awareness of those in the agreement.
  5. Under a joint tenancy agreement, you cannot sell or mortgage the property without the express permission of all people involved. As such, a tenants in common agreement may be better suited to your needs, as you have the right to use and control your portion of the estate.

If you are unsure of the best form of ownership for your new property, we’re here to help!
Our dedicated team are on the ground in Vancouver, with the latest property insights and up-to-date knowledge surrounding the legalities of property ownership.

Follow this link to see our current listings, or simply reach out and connect with us for advice or more information.

We look forward to working with you!

Capital Gains in Vancouver- How to Reduce Your Taxable Income

Capital Gains in Vancouver- How to Reduce Your Taxable Income

The Vancouver property market has seen some incredible growth in the past few years. However, as properties are sold, if they have generated a profit, they also incur a taxable event. Otherwise known as capital gains, this figure is added to your personal income, or claimed by the estate. Understanding how this taxation works, as well as how to reduce, defer and mitigate this figure, could be crucial in deciding whether to purchase or sell real estate in Vancouver.

How Do You Incur Capital Gains in Vancouver?

A common misconception of capital gains is that it is a tax in and of itself. However, there is no ‘capital gains tax.’ In its most simple form, you incur a ‘capital gain’ if/when you have sold your property, for more than you purchased it for. Conversely, if you sold your property for less, you would incur a capital loss and can use that loss to offset other capital gains or carry it forward to offset capital gains in future years.

Of course, this number is not a black and white figure. There are fees and deductions that will affect the gain itself, such as fees and costs associated with buying and selling said property. There are also other mitigating factors that may affect whether you incur a capital gain at all, such as whether the property was your primary residence or additional investment property.

Moreover, capital gains in Vancouver are taxed at the same rate as the rest of Canada. The differences between Vancouver ( and really all of B.C.) and the rest of the country comes down to the provincial and national tax rates, as well as your personal tax bracket. This is because the capital gain itself (or at least the taxable portion of it) is added to your annual income, rather than being a stand-alone payment.

Capital Gains isn’t a ‘tax,’ it is a taxable event.

Capital Gains isn’t a “tax,” it is a taxable event.

What Is the Capital Gains Rate in 2020?

The rate in 2020 is unchanged and remains at 50% of the capital gain. When it comes to calculating what you owe, the following (simplified) example may help:

  1. You purchased a property for $500,000 and sold it for $700,000.
  2. The capital gain portion of the sale is $200,000.
  3. The rate is 50% of the capital gain, so $100,000.
  4. This figure -$100,000- is then added to your annual income for tax purposes, rather than generating a separate taxable item.
  5. The amount you pay depends on the personal tax bracket you fall into, as the $100,000 gain counts as personal income. To calculate your cumulative total for the year, see this link.

Can I Avoid Paying Capital Gains?

The short answer to this question is no. At some point, the tax owing from the capital gain will have to be paid. There are, however, a number of circumstances that may reduce your capital gain, or allow you to defer the payment.

  • If the property is/was your primary residence, you do not incur a taxable event when it is sold. This is important for people with more than one property, as it may be beneficial to declare the more highly valued property (or whichever property has/stands to make the largest capital gain) as the primary residence.

  • The numbers aren’t so black and white. The actual figure for the cost of your property is derived from your adjusted cost base. That is, if you purchased your property for $500,000 and then spent $100,000 in permanent improvements, your adjusted cost base is actually $600,000. Then, if you sold for $700,000 your total capital gain is only $100,000 as opposed to $200,000.

  • Although we are using examples pertaining to the property market, capital gains/losses encompass all assets, not just real estate. This means that if you have made any losses (for example in stocks or bonds), you can use these losses to offset the capital gain made on your property, thereby reducing the income amount added to your overall income. Note: Capital losses can only be offset against other capital gains- it does not reduce your overall income by the loss amount.

    As such, you may be able to reduce your capital gains in Vancouver by selling your property in the same year you have made other losses. Similarly, if you have losses from previous years carried forward, these can be applied against the capital gain and may reduce the taxable amount.

  • If you are in the position to, delaying when you sell your property may also factor into your strategy. For example, selling on or after January 1 puts you into the new financial year, giving you until April 30 the following year to actually make the payment.

    Historically in the Vancouver property market, selling in Spring tends to attract higher prices. This may earn you both a capital gain and give you longer to make the repayment. Conversely, if you have made gains on a number of properties or other assets throughout the year, selling one at a loss before the end of the financial year may help you to offset some of them. In doing so you can effectively reduce the total annual gain, and the amount of tax to be paid.

  • Make voluntary contributions to your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) to defer (and lower) the tax payable. This allows you to make contributions pre-tax for any given year and allows that contribution to grow tax-free until the time of withdrawal.

    Although you can withdraw from your RRSP at any time, if you wait until retirement, that amount will have grown thanks to the power of compounding interest, and you will also only be taxed on it at the marginal tax rate. Presumably the tax bracket you fall into during retirement will be lower than during regular employment, thereby reducing your overall capital gain in the year you make it, as well as the tax payable longer term.

    In 2020, the maximum contribution amounts to your RRSP is:
    —18% of total income earned/reported on your 2019 tax return
    —Up to a maximum value of $27,230.

    So on a $100,000 capital gain you could reduce the sum that is added to your taxable income by $27,230. Depending on your other income sources, that figure could make the difference when it comes to assessing your personal tax bracket.

Additionally, the growth of RRSP investments is tax-sheltered. That means that any returns made within your retirement plan are exempt from additional capital gains, income, and dividend tax. It also means that any RRSP investments compound at a pre-tax rate, giving you a bit more bang for your buck.

Retired couple at alta lake whistler.jpg

What if I Inherited a Property?

Death and taxes are a certainty of life, and when it comes to taxes you are considered to have sold all of your assets/possessions one minute before you died. When it comes to inheriting real estate, any capital gain made on the property still creates a taxable event. However, in most instances, it is the estate that must claim/pay the capital gain.

If you are transferring the property to a beneficiary- your child, for example- the property is assessed at fair market value on that day, and any taxable event arising from that transfer or its subsequent sale is based on that amount.

For example, you purchased a property for $100,000 and at the time of your death, it was valued at $500,000, creating a capital gain event of $400,000. With the current 50% rate,  $200,000 (or the amount after deductions) would then be added to the annual income of the beneficiary. The rate of tax they incur will depend on their individual circumstances. In addition, if you have more than one child, that $200,000 amount is split between the number of beneficiaries. Four children would result in each adding $50,000 to their personal taxable income.

Moreover, although the property can be transferred to a spouse tax-free, at the time of their passing, the gain will still be incurred and owed by the estate. Of course, planning ahead with your accountant, and making as many claims and deductions as possible can reduce the overall figure, however at some point, it will still need to be paid.

It is also worth mentioning that if the property that was passed down was the principal residence, the capital gains event will not be incurred. However, if you have more than one property at the time of passing, capital gains will need to be paid on each additional property.

At the West Haven Group, we can help you to sell your real estate assets at a time that is beneficial to you. We can also connect you to the right industry professionals, as well as help you to implement beneficial investing strategies. If you would like more information or would like to know whether now is the right time for you to sell your property in Vancouver, reach out and connect!

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