Property Transfer Tax – what is it and who pays?

Published By: on October 24th, 2011 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News
Published By: on October 24th, 2011 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Property transfer tax (PTT)is a nasty surprise to some home buyers new to B.C. There are similar taxes charged in all provinces, however ours in B.C. is the 2nd highest in the country. It is calculated like this: 1% on the 1st $200,000 and 2% on the balance. I think the idea is that any property over $200,000 is a luxury property and thus should be subject to a higher tax rate. Hmmm. Has anyone looked at the average house price in B.C. lately? This $200,000 breakpoint is looking a bit out of date.

PTT is charged to the buyer in all transactions involving transfer of title from one owner to another. However, 1st time homebuyers are exempt. In order to qualify for the exemption you need to have never owned a property anywhere in the world at any time in your life. Each individual has the right to claim this exemption, so if one partner has owned a property before and the other has not, you can claim a percentage of the exemption based on the percentage of your ownership. For example, if you own 50% of your new property then you can claim 50% of the exemption.

PTT is based on the “fair market value” of the property – usually the sale price. If the price paid for the property is not considered fair market value, for example if it was gifted to a family member, then the value would be set at the assessment level plus improvements. The point here is that the government gets its money one way or the other.