Real Estate Assignment Sales – New Tax Rules
The Federal Budget for 2022 has made amendments to Part IX of the Excise Tax Act (“ETA”). Effective May 7, 2022, all assignment sales in respect of newly constructed or substantially renovated single unit residential complexes or residential condominium units are taxable.
For clarity, with respect to residential housing transactions, the purchaser (assignor) enters into an agreement of Purchase and Sale with the builder and then sells (assigns) their “rights and obligations” in the agreement of Purchase and Sale to another person (assignee).
Typically, the closing date for a pre-constructions residential property can take several months or even years. During this time, purchasers may decide to assign their rights outlined in the Purchase and Sale agreement to an assignee. The Federal Budget for 2022 now imposes GST/HST tax obligations on assignors and assignees. Essentially, an individual assignor of residential real estate now must collect GST/HST remit it to the CRA. This rule is applicable even to those who do not have a GST/HST number and believe that they are not purchasing and assigning in the course of commercial activity. In cases where the assignor is a non-resident, the assignee is obligated to self-assess the GST/HST. Prior to this amendment, the GST/HST liability depended on whether an individual purchased and assigned their rights in the course of commercial activity and if the purchaser’s true intentions were to live in and use the property, then there would be no GST/HST liability.
Deposit Portion of Assignments
Where an assignment agreement is entered into on or after May 7, 2022, the Budget confirms that GST/HST would not be applicable to the deposit portion of the assignment price. However, it must be indicated in writing that a part of the consideration is attributable to the reimbursement of a deposit paid by the assignor to the builder under the Purchase and Sale agreement. This means that an assignor would only be liable for GST/HST on the amount above the deposit. This also eliminates double taxation and is consistent with the holding from current caselaw, Casa Blanca Homes Ltd. v. The Queen, 2013 TCC 338.
Where an assignment agreement is entered into before May 7, 2022, and the assignment sale is taxable, the total amount payable for the sale is subject to the GST/HST, this includes any amount paid by the assignor as a deposit to the builder, whether or not this amount is separately identified.
Budget 2022 further proposes that sales of residential properties owned for less than 12 months are deemed to generate business income under the Income Tax Act (“ITA”). These are subject to limited exceptions such as divorce, or relocation for employment purposes. In terms of assignment sales, it has not yet been determined whether the proposed “anti-flipping” rules would apply since taxpayers do not technically “own” the properties. Tax practitioners are carefully monitoring this. For more information see our previous blog discussing this.
If you have questions about the new rules contact us today!
This article provides information of a general nature only. It does not provide legal advice nor can it or should it be relied upon. All tax situations are specific to their facts and will differ from the situations in this article. If you have specific legal questions, you should consult a lawyer.