The Following Information is Provided by
The Government of British Columbia
Foreigners Additional Property Transfer Tax
The additional property transfer tax is a 15% tax that foreign entities or taxable trustees pay in addition to the general property transfer tax on transfers of residential property located in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) (also known as the Metro Vancouver Regional District).
The GVRD includes Anmore, Belcarra, Bowen Island, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, Langley City and Township, Lion’s Bay, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver City and District, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, West Vancouver, White Rock and Electoral Area A.
Note: While the GVRD website lists Abbotsford parks as part of the GVRD, residential properties aren’t included.
The additional property transfer tax doesn’t apply to properties located on Tsawwassen First Nation lands.
- Foreign entities and taxable trustees
- How the additional tax applies
- How to file and pay
- Audits and appeals
For the additional property transfer tax, a foreign entity is a property purchaser or tranferee that is a foreign national or a foreign corporation.
A foreign national is a person who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, including a stateless person.
A foreign corporation is a corporation that is one of the following:
- Not incorporated in Canada
- Is incorporated in Canada but is controlled in whole or in part by a foreign national or other foreign corporation, unless the shares of the corporation are listed on a Canadian stock exchange
- Is controlled directly or indirectly by a foreign entity (see section 256 of the Income Tax Act (Canada) for further details)
A taxable trustee is a trustee that is a foreign national or foreign corporation holding title in trust for beneficiaries. The taxable trustee can also be a Canadian citizen holding title in trust for beneficiaries who are foreign nationals or foreign corporations.
A property transfer occurs when you purchase or gain interest in a property.
If you are a foreign entity or a taxable trustee, you pay the 15% additional property transfer tax on your proportionate share of a residential property transfer in the GVRD. If you are exempt from paying the general property transfer tax, you are also exempt from paying the additional property transfer tax except in the following situations:
- A transfer resulting from an amalgamation
- A transfer to a surviving joint tenant
- A transfer where the transferee is or becomes a trustee in relation to the property, even if the trust does not change
Your proportionate share is the percentage of interest that you are registering on title with the Land Title Office. For example, if you are a foreign entity acquiring a 70% interest in a property, you pay the 15% additional property transfer tax on only the 70% acquired interest.
The additional property transfer tax doesn’t apply to registration of trusts that are mutual fund trusts, real estate investment trusts or specified investment flow-through trusts.
The additional property transfer tax applies on only the residential portion of a property located in the GVRD. There are three types of properties where this may occur:
- Property classified as residential (class 1) by BC Assessment. You pay the additional tax based on the fair market value of the full property.
- Property classified as farm land or as part of the Agricultural Land Reserve by BC Assessment that includes a residential improvement, such as a building used as a farmer’s home. You pay the additional tax on the value of the residential improvement plus 0.5 hectares of land.
- Property classified as commercial by BC Assessment that includes a residential improvement (class 1), such as a condo in a building with commercial space. You pay the additional tax on the value of the residential improvement.
You must file a general property transfer tax return any time you purchase or gain an interest in a property in British Columbia. You must file your return electronically with the help of a legal professional.
If you are a foreign entity or taxable trustee, you or your legal professional must also file an additional property transfer tax return (PDF), even if you or the property transfer qualify for an exemption.
The information on your transfer tax return is used to complete your general property transfer tax return. For this reason, it is recommended that your legal professional submit the tax return on your behalf.
Both the general and the additional property transfer tax returns must be filed and any tax owing must be paid at the same time that your legal professional registers the transfer with the Land Title Office.
Each transferee is jointly and severally liable for any additional tax payable. If you do not pay the additional tax, the other transferees are required to pay your share, even if they are Canadian citizens.
All property transfer transactions are subject to audit and all additional property transfer tax returns will be reviewed and verified. The audit period is six years from the date the transfer is registered at the Land Title Office.
Anti-avoidance provisions exist and will be enforced to ensure all foreign entities report and pay the additional tax as required, including examining circumstances where Canadians, as taxable trustees, hold property in trust for a foreign entity or are trustees where a beneficiary may be a foreign entity.
Failure to pay the additional tax as required or purposely completing the general or additional property transfer tax return with incorrect or misleading information may result in a penalty of the unpaid tax plus interest and a fine of $200,000 for corporations or $100,000 for individuals and/or up to two years in prison. The penalties apply to anyone who participates in tax avoidance.
If you are a foreign national individual who receives confirmation under the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program, you do not pay the 15% transfer tax. Foreign corporations and taxable trustees are not eligible for the exemption.
To qualify for this exemption, you must be a confirmed B.C. Provincial Nominee before the property transfer is registered with the Land Title Office and the property must be used as your principal residence.
You may claim this exemption only once. If you purchase another property as a foreign national, you must pay the additional tax. Qualification for every exemption is verified.
To claim the exemption, when you file your additional property transfer tax return (PDF):
- Check the box in Part A to indicate you were a B.C. Provincial Nominee at the time of registration
- Attach a copy of your B.C. Provincial Nominee confirmation
- Email the completed additional property transfer tax return (PDF) along with any attachments to ATTENQ@gov.bc.ca, or your legal professional can do this for you
You file both your tax returns on the same day the property transfer is registered at the Land Title Office.
You may be eligible for a refund of the additional property transfer tax if:
- You were confirmed as a B.C. Provincial Nominee between August 2, 2016 and March 17, 2017 (see additional criteria below)
- You became a permanent resident or Canadian citizen within one year of the date the property transfer was registered with the Land Title Office (see additional criteria below)
- Tax was paid in error, such as you paid the additional tax on a residential property located outside the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD)
You can claim a refund only once. If you purchase another property as a foreign national, you must pay the transfer tax.
To apply for a refund, complete the additional property transfer tax application for refund (PDF) and submit it to the address shown on the form.
You may be eligible for a refund of the additional property transfer tax that you paid between August 2, 2016 to March 17, 2017, if you:
- Are a foreign national individual
- Purchased or gained an interest in a residential property in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD)
- Held a nomination certificate or were confirmed under the B.C. Provincial Nominee program on the date the property transfer was registered with the Land Title Office
You must apply for a refund within 18 months from the date the property transfer was registered.
In addition to becoming a permanent resident or Canadian citizen within one year from the date the property transfer was registered with the Land Title Office, to qualify for the refund, you must also have:
- Used the home as your principal residence
- Moved into the home within 92 days of the date the property transfer was registered
- Continued to live in the home as your principal residence for at least one full year after the date the property transfer was registered
You must apply for a refund after the first anniversary of the date the property transfer was registered and within 18 months from the date the property transfer was registered at the Land Title Office.
A Canadian permanent resident card is the preferred proof of permanent residency. The following documents are also acceptable if there is no permanent residency card:
- Valid Immigrant Visa and Record of Landing (IMM100)
- Confirmation of Permanent Residence document (IMM5292 or IMM5509) – the confirmation number starts with a T followed by nine numbers
Note: Residency requirements for income purposes may differ from permanent residency requirements for immigration status. Ensure you are meeting the requirements outlined above for the additional property transfer tax.
Property transfers are routinely audited. You can be audited up to six years from the date the property transfer is registered at the Land Title Office.
If you disagree with an audit or an assessment, you may appeal the decision to the Minister.