In his 2019 budget speech to the Canadian House of Commons, the Finance Minister announced several actions the government plans to take to reduce tax evasion. One such action involves residential real estate transactions.
The government plans to establish four audit teams dedicated to increasing compliance in the residential and commercial real estate sectors. Among other things, the teams will be tasked with making sure that all taxpayers report principal residence sales, as well as profits from real estate flipping projects. They will also attempt to ensure that capital gains arising from real estate sales are reported as taxable in those situations where a tax would apply. Although there is a capital gains exemption for principal residence sales, it does not apply to all cases. The new initiative is intended to make sure that sales are reported, and tax paid on gains when required.
The real estate initiative, which is but one of several actions the Finance Minister announced, is expected to produce an additional $68 million in revenue over five years.
As a result of this initiative, Canadian real property sales will be subject to additional scrutiny over the coming years.
Companies with transferees selling Canadian homes should be aware that additional rules enforcement is likely, which could affect the employees involved.