First Time Home Buyer Incentives
Buying a house for the first time is a big and important decision in your life. As someone who represents you and looks out for your best interest, I would like to let you know about the various programs and incentives that are available.
1. First Time Buyers Tax Credit:
You can claim $5,000 for the purchase of a qualifying home in the year if both of the following apply:
- you or your spouse or common-law partner acquired a qualifying home
- you did not live in another home owned by you or your spouse or common-law partner in the year of acquisition or in any of the four preceding years (first-time home buyer)
How is the new tax credit calculated?
The Home Buyers Tax Credit is calculated by multiplying the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2021) by $5,000. For 2021, this amount is $750
2. Home Buyer's Plan:
The Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) is a program that allows you to withdraw from your registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself or for a related person with a disability.
Budget 2019 increased the HBP withdrawal limit to $35,000. This applies to withdrawals made after March 19, 2019.
3. Land Transfer Tax Rebate:
Land transfer tax applies to all conveyances of land in Ontario. Firsttime home buyers may be eligible for a refund of all or part of the tax payable.
Beginning January 1, 2017, the maximum amount of the refund is $4,000. The increased limit of $4,000 applies only to conveyances or dispositions that occur on or after January 1, 2017, regardless of the date the agreement of purchase and sale was signed.
Beginning January 1, 2017, no land transfer tax would be payable by qualifying firsttime purchasers on the first $368,000 of the value of the consideration for eligible homes. Firsttime purchasers of homes greater than $368,000 would receive a maximum refund of $4,000.
First-time home buyers in Toronto can also receive a municipal land transfer tax rebate of up to $4,475
4. First Time Home Buyer Incentive:
With this incentive, Government of Canada provides:
- 5% or 10% for a first-time buyer’s purchase of a newly constructed home
- 5% for a first-time buyer’s purchase of a resale (existing) home
- 5% for a first-time buyer’s purchase of a new or resale mobile/manufactured home
- The incentive is available to first-time home buyers with qualified annual incomes of $150,000 or less. A participant’s insured mortgage and the incentive amount cannot be greater than 4.5 times the participant’s qualified annual income.
5. New housing GST/ HST Rebate (Applies to all Buyers, First time or not):
This rebate offers money back to Canadians who buy a newly built home, substantially renovate an existing home, or rebuild a home that was destroyed due to fire. In all three cases, an individual will incur GST/HST on their purchase. The GST portion of a new home purchase or renovation can be rebated to all Canadians who qualify.
The GST/HST new housing rebate allows an individual to recover some of the goods and services tax (GST) or the federal part of the harmonized sales tax (HST) paid for a new or substantially renovated house that is for use as the individual's, or their relations, primary place of residence, when all of the other conditions are met. Additionally, other provincial new housing rebates may be available for the provincial part of the HST whether the GST/HST new housing rebate for the federal part of the HST is available or not.
In certain circumstances, a transitional new housing rebate may be available in addition to any GST/HST new housing rebate and provincial new housing rebate for which you may be eligible, even if the house is not your primary place of residence.
6. The new housing rebate is not available to a corporation or a partnership.
The First Home Savings Account, FHSA (introduced November 2022)
An FHSA combines the features of a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) . Like an RRSP, contributions would be tax-deductible and qualifying withdrawals to purchase a first home would be non-taxable, like a TFSA.
However, with an FHSA and unlike the Home Buyers’ Plan, the funds do not need to be paid back.
Summary Features of an FHSA
To be eligible to open an FHSA you must be:
- A Canadian resident
- 18 years or older and
- A first-time home buyer
- The account can stay open for 15 years or until the end of the year you turn 71, or at the end of the year following the year in which you make a qualifying withdrawal from an FHSA for the first home purchase, whichever comes first.
Contributions and Deductions:
- Individuals would be able to claim an income tax deduction for contributions made in a particular taxation year
- Annual contributions are capped at $8,000, up to $40,000 during the lifetime contribution limit.
- Unused contribution room can carry forward to the following year up to a maximum of $8,000.
What if you don't purchase a home?
- Any savings not used to purchase a qualifying home could be transferred to an RRSP or RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Fund) on a non-taxable transfer basis, subject to applicable rules.
The funds transferred to an RRSP or RRIF will be taxed upon ultimate withdrawal.
- If not transferred but instead withdrawn, FHSA funds would be subject to taxes.
What is a qualifying withdrawal?
- Must be a first-time homebuyer and a resident of Canada at the time of the withdrawal to the acquisition of the qualifying home,
- You must have a written agreement to buy or build a qualifying home located in Canada before October 1 of the year following the year of withdrawal, and
- You must also intend to occupy the qualifying home as your principal place of residence within one year of buying or building it.
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Imraz Ramani -- Real Estate Representative
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RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage
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