As many of you already know, in Canada, taxes are due each year on the last day of April. Now I know that for many, taxes are one of the least favorite things to talk about, yet lots of people seem to be misinformed about tax basics and the implications they have on real estate. By no means am I a tax expert, but in this blog post I want to clear up some of the basic tax questions I get asked.
Capital Gains Tax– Capital gains occurs when you sell a property at a higher price than you paid for it. The difference is known as your “capital gain”. Any property (with exception to your primary residence) is subject to a capital gains tax.
Calculating Capital Gains Tax – The formula for calculating capital gains tax on real estate is : Capital gain x 50.00% x marginal tax rate = capital gain tax. This can be best illustrated through the following example.
Let’s say you bought a 2 bedroom investment condo in Mississauga back in 2007 for $300,000, and now you have sold this condo for $350,000. You have made a $50,000 profit, of which $25,000 is subject to capital gains. This $25,000 is then multiplied by your marginal tax rate. Lets say your reported income was $80,000 (so you’re looking at 35% marginal rate). Thus, your capital gain tax would approximately amount to $8750.
Secondary Residence vs. Primary Residence – The most frequently asked question amongst my buyers is ‘ if they could claim their Mississauga condo investment property as a “primary residence”, also known as a “principle residence” ‘. The simple answer is no. According to Canada Revenue Agency a principle residence can be a house, a condo, a cottage or even a mobile home, which has been occupied primarily as your residential home, and has been owned by you or jointly with another person during the tax year. Owning two principle residences is possible, if the properties in question are in separate cities and are both used as a place to live in during the tax year. However, do exercise caution and seek professional advice, when claiming two properties as principle residences.
Renting Your Condo Unit As a Non-Resident – If you are not a permanent resident in Canada but do wish to hold real estate in Canada, then I would strongly advise you to hire a professional accountant. They should explain to you that the first step is to obtain a tax account number. You should also know that your rental income will be subject to a 25% withholding tax. Now, I know this rate may seem high, however not to worry, as this will be reduced when you file your NR4 slip. The NR4 form reports the gross rents you collected and the withholding tax that you remitted to Canada Revenue Agency. Finally, as with other parts in the world, when you file your annual tax return on your investment property, you can deduct tax expenses such as: property tax, repairs, general maintenance, insurance, condo fees and fees paid to any agencies who take care of your property.
Paying Your Taxes – In Canada taxes are due on April 30th of each year. Unlike in other parts of the world, Canadians do not have an option to file for an extension. If you are late with your taxes, you will be subject to a 2% penalty for each month you are late. Make sure to stay organized so that when tax time arrives you are ready to submit everything !
Once again, I would always encourage people seeking any tax advice to speak with a licensed tax personal. I do have some names which I can recommend for anyone searching for a good accountant. For more quick tips please visit the Canada Revenue Agency website found here.
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