Non-Residents

Wondering About Buying Real Estate In British Columbia?

Canada boasts many advantages internationally and economically, and British Columbia, unlike some of the Canadian provinces, has virtually no land ownership restrictions legislated. (British Columbia Land Act stipulates crown land may only be granted to Canadian citizens). Salt Spring Island has property owners that live all over the world. A real estate purchase can be simple and stress-free with the services of a licensed and experienced realtor and with the aid of a professional accountant or lawyer that specialize in these issues. Proper pre-immigration tax planning may establish attractive tax shelters in what is potentially a high tax country but where tax advice would offset this as a difficult liability.

Generally, nonresidents staying in Canada for six months or less are considered by the government to be tourists or nonresidents. Americans do not need a visa to enter Canada.

If Canada is resided in for longer than six months, immigration status needs to be applied for. There is no limit to the number of times the border may be crossed.

Property rent is subject to a withholding tax of 25% of the gross rental income for nonresidents (please confirm as this may be outdated now). You may elect to file a Canadian tax return to recover any excess tax. Please see an accountant to help with these matters.

Selling a Canadian property has tax implications with Canada’s federal capital gains tax, if the residence is a second or third home and not the principal residence. Due to the American/Canadian Tax Convention Agreement a tax credit in America is in place for income paid to Revenue Canada.

Finding a lawyer specializing in real estate law, tax law, and non-resident issue is advised. Henri Procter will assist with this if needed and has experience with nonresident buyers and sellers. As a realtor Henri is well versed in explaining HST (Provincial Sales Tax), PTT (Property Transfer Tax), and the procedures of purchasing or selling, whether it be an explanation of the mortgage system or what may be expected in a typical contract of sale.

Contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada or Revenue Canada for further information on Canadian tax regulations and verification of this information as well as for immigration policies. Written legal advice is also recommended.