First Nation titles free from B.C. foreign tax

November 28, 2016 8:13 pm

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The B.C. government’s recent enactment of a 15 per cent tax on residential purchases by foreign nationals has already had considerable effect on the volume of residential purchases and sales in the Lower Mainland. Although the long-term effect on the price of residential real estate has yet to be determined, there is little doubt that the pace of residential transactions immediately slowed. As the buying and selling public learns to adjust to this “new normal”, there are still issues which catch people by surprise.

One of these is the effect of this 15 per cent tax on transactions involving First Nations land.

Before looking at this specific issue, let’s take a quick look at the tax itself. The legislation introduced a new 15 per cent property transfer tax in addition to the existing 1 per cent, 2 per cent and 3 per cent rates of tax previously in effect. The new tax applies to purchases made by foreign corporations and foreign nationals (persons who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents of Canada). The tax only applies to purchases of residential real property within a specified area, which is currently defined as the Metro Vancouver Regional District, excluding the treaty lands of the Tsawwassen First Nation. The determination of whether or not the property is residential is made based on the classification of the property for property tax purposes.

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