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What is FINTRAC?

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) is Canada’s financial intelligence unit whose mandate is to prevent and deter money laundering and terrorist financing. In order to meet this objective, FINTRAC requires all real estate agents to verify the identity of all their clients and unrepresented parties to a real estate transaction.

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Non-Resident: Buying

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Buying Real Estate as a Non-resident

Important: in 2023 and 2024 there is no Foreign Buyer Ban in Whistler. Everyone is still able to buy real estate in Whistler. Therefore, this post is for non-residents of Canada who are considering buying real estate in Whistler. Due to the complexities of buying property best to review the Non-resident: Buying page on this site for the full details. It covers the basics of financing and the transfer of funds once you have found a property.

The table of contents on the Non-resident: Buying page includes the following topics:

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Non-Resident: Selling Process

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Selling Whistler Real Estate as a Non-Resident

For the non-resident who is thinking of selling their Whistler property, it should be a smooth process. However, the smoothness depends on the non-resident’s expectations. Hopefully, you have a BC accountant you have been working with since you purchased your property. Otherwise….buckle up! The Non-resident: Selling page explains the complex selling process so that anyone who is not a tax accountant can understand it.

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Underused Housing Tax (UHT)

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Underused Housing Tax (UHT) For Residential Properties

Whistler Accountants interpreted The Government of Canada’s (GOC) Underused Housing Tax Act (UHT) and noted that clarity was required regarding rental and business income properties. This tax pertains to some residents and all non-residents of Canada. For residents, it comes down to who is on the title for the property. See the link above for all the restrictions. Note: the author of this blog is a realtor, not an accountant. It is important to read the UHT government page and talk with your accountant.

The UHT Act affects non-resident owners. The GOC site refers to an annual 1% tax on the ownership of vacant or underused residential housing. Meaning that the non-resident owner (or their spouse, or common law partner) of a property used as a residence has to make use of the property for more than 28 days to be exempt from the UHT. One would hope that anyone owning a home in Whistler is enjoying the mountains and nature more than 28 days a year.

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Non-resident: Re-financing

Re-financing is not an option for Non-residents

When a non-resident decides to buy a property in Whistler, it is important to make a decision about financing when writing the offer. If a non-resident Buyer says that it would be simpler to pay cash for the property and then refinance, that is not an option with Canadian Banks.

The reason is that the Canadian bank does not know the source of the original funds used to buy the property. Despite, you the Buyer, offering the Bank every document on the purchase of the property, no Canadian Bank can refinance your property. To do so would be in contravention of FINTRAC.

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