Be sure you qualify for a land transfer tax rebate before counting on it


SaleThe Ontario and Toronto governments have very clear rebates for first-time buyers on land transfer tax, which can save buyers thousands on each tax if they are truly first-time buyers and if they qualify. I have had several buyers recently who expected the rebate and were surprised to learn that they didn’t qualify, resulting in higher closing costs than they expected.

In order to qualify, you have to first have never owned property anywhere. Unlike some other programs, this is not in the last five years, or not in Canada; this is anywhere in the world, any time in your life.

If you cross that threshold, the next question is: are you married or in a common law relationship? If your spouse or partner owns property, or a former spouse or partner owned property while you were living together, even if it wasn’t the house you lived in, you lost your eligibility at that point. An exception is if your marriage was annulled, as the government then considers you to have never been married.

Finally, you have to be planning to live in the new property as your principal residence. The rebate is not for investment properties, or for recreational properties. If it’s not going to be where you spend the majority of your time, you don’t get the rebate.

Check to be sure you qualify before counting on that money.