Additional Property Transfer Tax on Foreign Buyers

In British Columbia, a general property transfer tax is payable on all property transactions involving a change to the property’s title, including:

  • acquiring a registered interest in the property
  • gaining an additional registered interest in the property
  • becoming the registered holder of a lease, life estate, or right to purchase for the property

The amount of tax payable is based on the fair market value of the property on the date of registration except for pre-sold strata units.  The tax is charged at a rate of:

  • 1% on the first $200,000,
  • 2% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2,000,000, and
  • 3% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $2,000,000.

For example, if the fair market value of a property is $2,500,000, the tax paid is $53,000.

Effective August 2, 2016, an additional 15% property transfer tax was introduced in British Columbia on real estate transactions and is additional to the general property transfer tax.  This tax applies to:

  • Residential property transfers
  • Properties located in the Greater Vancouver Regional District, which 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, which includes the following communities:
    • Lands along Howe Sound, located between the District of West Vancouver and Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (excluding the Village of Lions Bay). This includes the communities of Ocean Point, Strachan Point and Montizambert Wynd.
    • Bowyer and Passage Islands (in Howe Sound)
    • Northern portion of Indian Arm
    • Boulder Island and Carraholly Point (at the southern end of Indian Arm)
    • West side of Pitt Lake
    • Barnston Island (in the Fraser River, west of Golden Ears Bridge)
    • University Endowment Lands (includes most of Pacific Spirit Regional Park)
    • University of British Columbia (including University Neighbourhoods)
  • Foreign buyers that are:
    • foreign nationals who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents
    • foreign corporations not incorporated in Canada or incorporated in Canada but 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
    • taxable trustees that are a foreign national or foreign corporation, or a beneficiary of a trust that is a foreign national or foreign corporation.
  • Any applicable transfers including those which may normally be exempt from property transfer tax, such as
    • transfer between related individuals
    • transfer to a surviving joint tenant
    • transfer to a trustee of the real property

This tax does not apply to:

  • buyers who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents
  • commercial properties or non-residential properties
  • properties outside of the above mentioned area, such as the Tsawwassen First Nation lands, Whistler, Vancouver Island

For properties that have a residential component, such as farm land, this additional 15% property transfer tax will apply to the residential component.  In other words, the tax will be paid on the portion of the purchase price prorated to the residential portion.

For more information, please visit gov.bc.ca/propertytransfertax.  For enquiries on this topic, please contact one of the lawyers in our Real Estate Group.