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Legal Guide

A land transfer tax or registration fee is payable on any registered conveyance of land in all of the provinces in Canada. The rate of taxation varies in each province and is based on the value of the consideration, except in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where the fee is based on the value of the land and fixtures at the time of the conveyance, and in Quebec, where the basis of imposition for transfer duties is the higher of the consideration, and the market value (deemed the municipal assessment value) at the time of transfer. Similarly, the Property Transfer Tax Branch in British Columbia and the Ontario Ministry of Revenue will routinely re-assess the tax payable based on the market value of the property on the date of transfer, where there is a significant discrepancy between the value of the consideration paid and the latest assessed value of the property.

Ontario is the most aggressive province in taxing transfers of land. Land Transfer Tax in Ontario has, since 1989, been payable on any transfer of land, whether registered or unregistered, and also on certain other transactions, including long term leases. An additional municipal land transfer tax is applied to real property transfers in the city of Toronto. In Alberta, registration fees rather than a tax are payable. Significant fees are only payable with respect to transfers, the creation of leasehold titles, and mortgages and encumbrances. In British Columbia, the tax is triggered by, among other things, registration of a transfer of an estate in fee simple, a life estate or a right to occupy land under either an agreement of purchase and sale, a lease, or a right to require a transfer of land under an agreement of purchase and sale. In the cases of British Columbia leases, there may be an exemption for registration of a lease with a term of 30 years of less. (Refer also to the section “Commodity Tax Considerations - Provincial Land Transfer Tax”.) Some provinces have implemented a higher rate of land transfer tax for non-residents.

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