With tax time looming, many condo investors could find themselves owing a lot more in tax than they thought. That’s because the CRA is apparently cracking down on condo flippers.
Here’s a quick crash course:
If you buy a condo and then sell it after having lived in it as your principal residence for a minimum of 6 months, you are, of course, capital gains exempt. But if you buy it as an investment, you are subject to capital gains tax. So a $100,000 gain at a 46% marginal tax rate will result in a $23,000 tax bill (50% of the gain is taxable). But if CRA decides that you are in the business of flipping condos, your $100,000 profit will be taxed as pure income – meaning that the tax bill will be the full $46,000 in the above example.
So the interesting distinction is between owning a condo as an investment versus being in the business of flipping condos. If you own the condo through the registration period, rent it out for a while and eventually sell it, you will most likely be deemed as being an investor. But if you sell your rights to the property before it's registered (i.e., selling your assignment), you will definitely be regarded as being a "flipper" (meaning that you are in the business of flipping condos). You may want to adopt a conservative approach on this one given the fact that CRA is apparently cracking down on abuses and because there are also hefty fines involved if you are deemed to have mis-filed. For more on this topic, please click here.