Canada: An Overview Of The New Changes To The BC Property Transfer Tax

Last Updated: February 26 2016
Article by Arnon A. Dachner and Wilfred Chan


On February 16, 2016, the BC Government announced some significant changes to the property transfer taxes collected when real property in BC is transferred. This overview provides you with key information on some of the new rules.

3% tax rate

A new third tier tax rate on transfers of all real estate was imposed as of February 17, 2016, at a rate of 3% of fair market value over $2 million. The property transfer tax rates are now:

  1. 1% on the first $200,000;
  2. 2% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $200,000 up to and including $2 million; and
  3. 3% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $2 million.

Generally, fair market value is the same as the purchase price. With these new rates in place, a transferee will pay an extra $10,000 in taxes on each million above $2 million.

The Newly Built Home Exemption

The BC Government also introduced an exemption for transfers of newly built homes (the "Newly Built Home Exemption") with values of under $800,000, including condominiums, townhouses and vacant land. There is a complete exemption for fair market value of up to $750,000 with a relative reduction from $750,000 to $800,000 of fair market value. In order to qualify for the full exemption, both the purchaser and the property must qualify:

  1. the purchaser must:
    1. be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
    2. move into the new home within 92 days of the date the property is registered in the purchaser's name (the "Registration Date"); and
    3. continue to live in the new home as the purchaser's principal residence for first year following the Registration Date; and
  2. the property must:
    1. be a newly built home (see definition below)
    2. have a fair market value of $750,000 or less; and
    3. be 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller.

A newly built home includes:

  1. a new house constructed on vacant land;
  2. a new apartment or townhouse in a newly constructed condominium building;
  3. a manufactured home that is affixed on vacant land;
  4. a used house that is removed from another land and affixed on vacant land;
  5. a subdivision of an existing building to create new townhouses or apartments that have not been occupied since the subdivision; and
  6. a conversion of a non-residential building into a residential building.

A partial exemption is available if the purchaser meets the above criteria, but the property:

  1. has a fair market value greater than $750,000 and less than $800,000;
  2. is larger than 0.5 hectares; or
  3. has another building which is not the purchaser's principal residence.

A purchaser who qualified for the Newly Built Home Exemption but did not apply for the exemption on the Registration Date may apply for a refund of the taxes paid by submitting an application within 18 months from the Registration Date.

For vacant land, a purchaser who completes the construction of and moves into a new home on vacant land within one year from the Registration Date can apply for a refund of property transfer tax that was paid on the Registration Date provided all the other requirements are satisfied (meaning that the value of the land and the value of the improvements cannot exceed $800,000). All refund applications under this category must be submitted after one year from the Registration Date and within 18 months from the Registration Date.

A purchaser who does not qualify for the Newly Built Home Exemption on the Registration Date because the purchaser is a foreign national on the Registration Date but becomes a Canadian citizen or permanent within a year of the Registration Date may apply for a refund of the property transfer tax that was paid on the Registration Date. All refund applications under this category must be submitted after the purchaser becomes a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and within 18 months from the Registration Date.

There is no limit to the number of times a purchaser can apply to receive the Newly Built Home Exemption provided all the requirements are met for each subsequent purchase of a newly built home.

As this exemption applies only to newly built homes, a purchaser of a used home can only apply for the First Time Home Buyers' exemption, if applicable, for any property transfer tax relief.

As with all property transfer tax exemptions, the transferee files the tax return and claims the applicable exemption. The transferee takes the risk of any taxes payable for a false declaration as the transferor is not involved in the transferee's declaration.

Existing First Time Home Buyers' Program

The existing First-Time Home Buyers' Program (FTHB) remains relatively unchanged except that purchasers cannot claim both the FTHB and the Newly Built Home Exemption for the same purchase transaction. For the FTHB:

  1. the purchaser must have lived in BC for 12 consecutive months prior to the date the home is transferred or filed at least two income tax returns as a BC resident in the last six years;
  2. the purchaser must not have ever owned a principal residence anywhere in the world;
  3. the purchaser must not have ever received a FTHB exemption or refund;
  4. either new or used homes that have a fair market value of $475,000 or less are eligible for the full FTHB exemption; and
  5. either new or used homes that have a fair market value greater than $475,000 but less than $500,000 are eligible for a partial FTHB exemption.

There will be a transition period to allow purchasers who are eligible to claim either the FTHB or Newly Built Home Exemption to cancel their application for the FTHB and claim the Newly Built Home Exemption. Once a purchaser claims the FTHB or Newly Built Home Exemption, he or she cannot claim the FTHB in the future.

Disclosure of citizenship and beneficial owner

Starting in the spring/summer of 2016 (date to be confirmed), the BC Government will require all individuals, corporations and bare trustees who are transferees of real property in BC to disclose their citizenship and identity of beneficiaries.

For a corporate transferee, it must disclose:

  1. the total number of directors;
  2. the number of directors who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents; and
  3. the names, addresses and country of citizenship for all directors who are foreign nationals.

For a bare trustee or nominee (whether it is an individual or corporation), it must also disclose the following for the settlor and beneficiary of the trust:

  1. if it is an individual:
    1. the names and addresses of the settlor and beneficiary; and
    2. if the individual is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and country of citizenship for any foreign nationals; or
  2. if it is a corporation:
    1. the names and addresses of all directors of the settlor and beneficiary; and
    2. if the directors are Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and the country of citizenship for all directors who are foreign nationals.

This disclosure of citizenship and beneficial ownership is only required for taxable transactions at the time a transfer is registered at the land title office. At this time, there is no continuing obligation to disclose the identity of the beneficial owners for transfers that are not registered.

Dentons is a global legal practice providing client services worldwide through its member firms and affiliates. This publication is not designed to provide legal or other advice and you should not take, or refrain from taking, action based on its content. We would be pleased to discuss this with you further to provide advice about your particular circumstances.

About Dentons

Dentons is the world's first polycentric global law firm. A top 20 firm on the Acritas 2015 Global Elite Brand Index, the Firm is committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent and uncompromising quality and value in new and inventive ways. Driven to provide clients a competitive edge, and connected to the communities where its clients want to do business, Dentons knows that understanding local cultures is crucial to successfully completing a deal, resolving a dispute or solving a business challenge. Now the world's largest law firm, Dentons' global team builds agile, tailored solutions to meet the local, national and global needs of private and public clients of any size in more than 125 locations serving 50-plus countries.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. Specific Questions relating to this article should be addressed directly to the author.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.