Non-Resident Buyers

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Non-Residents Buying Whistler Real Estate

In summary, it is a simple process for a non-resident of Canada to purchase Whistler real estate through a buyer’s agent, like me. From the realtor’s perspective, it is the same process for a non-resident as it is for any other buyer. The difference for non-residents pertains to paying and filing taxes. Therefore professional accounting advice is essential prior to purchase so you understand your obligations.

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FAQ on Taxes

Can non-residents buy real estate in Whistler?

Yes. Non-residents can buy any type of real estate in Whistler.

Are non-resident buyers restricted from buying real estate in BC?

In Whistler, there are no restrictions. However, in Vancouver and many other metropolitan centers, there are restrictions. These restrictions are scheduled for 2 years starting January 2023.

Does Whistler have an Empty Homes Tax?

No. There is no Empty HomesTax in Whistler

Is there a BC Speculation Tax in Whistler?

No. There is no BC Speculation Tax in Whistler.

Does Whistler have a Vacancy Tax?

No. There is no Vacancy tax in Whistler.

What taxes do I pay on a Whistler real estate purchase?

There are only two taxes: Property Transfer Tax (PTT) and Goods and Services Tax (GST) if the property is non-exempt.

Investment

There are 4 types of investment and therefore tax considerations for non-resident individuals investing in BC Real Estate. The four types of real estate are:

  1. Rented nightly
  2. Rented monthly
  3. Never rented
  4. Rented for business income

The best resource I have found on the tax considerations for non-residents topic belongs to Accountant, Don Nisho, of Manning Elliott, Vancouver. Don provides information for non-residents who are considering the purchase of real estate in British Columbia. Below is the link to Manning Elliott’s real estate investment page for your reference:

https://www.manningelliott.com/industries/non-resident-real-estate-investment

However, as good as this information is, it sometimes does not clarify what taxable situation pertains to in Whistler. For example, in Whistler, we are subject to Property Transfer Tax and GST (if applicable) however we are not subject to:

  • Additional School Tax
  • BC Speculation Tax
  • Empty Homes Tax (also known as the Vacancy Tax)

Local Whistler accountants and tax experts are also available to meet with you and answer your questions on this topic.

Types of Zoning in Whistler

There are several types of zoning in Whistler each of which has restrictions. Read all about Phase 1, Phase 2, and Tourist Accommodation zoning in my blog post.

Buying Process

The process of buying a property is basically the same for residents and non-residents alike. This Buying Process is outlined in detail on a separate page. The main difference is the transfer of funds. Some buyers have no problems at all transferring funds and other buyers have a real trial getting money from their bank to their Whistler lawyer’s account.

Before Buying

  1. Plan to open a bank account in B.C. and start using it for small transactions. HSBC is a good choice however, TD Canada Trust, RBC, and CIBC all have branches in Whistler Village. Scotiabank has a branch at Whistler Creekside. You won’t be sending money into the bank as part of the buying process so you don’t really need an account. However, the lawyers always suggest that potential buyers open an account so that you have the bank account status.
  2. When you are in Whistler, your realtor will arrange for you to meet with a Whistler or B.C. lawyer. The lawyer will photocopy your passport. The Federal Government requires you to meet with a lawyer prior to sending money to Canada. Not taking this step may cause a delay in the funds being transferred. Which could cause a breach of the contract which you definitely want to avoid.
  3. If you have a Canadian bank account with even modest activity, it seems to help along the mortgage application.
  4. If you are not getting financing for the property, the funds will not go into the bank but directly to the lawyer’s office to be held in trust. Some buyers prefer to send the money to the bank early so that they are assured it is in place. Then when it is needed they transfer the funds from the bank to the lawyer’s account. However, this is not as simple as it sounds. If you are set up with the right banker, this may work like a charm, but if the money is in the Whistler bank and there is no means to get it from that back to your lawyer, it is a huge headache.
  5. Meet with legal and accounting professionals to answer any questions you may have.

Income Tax on Rental Property

In essence, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) wants non-residents who are earning income to pay tax on that income annually. If your property earns income it must be collected and remitted at the source of payment. For example: if you hire a rental management company they will take care of this for you. Their job is to withhold 25% of the gross income and submit it to the CRA, this could be considered a pre-payment of taxes. The holdback of 25% on gross revenue can be reduced to 25% of net income when the non-resident and the rental manager co-sign the NR6 form.

Actual income tax is determined when the income tax return is filed by your Whistler accountant and assessed by the CRA. Typically the rental management company takes care of working with the Whistler accountant to submit this annually.

Tax on the Sale of Property

If you sell your rental or residential property for more than you bought it for there is a tax on that capital gain. Your Whistler lawyer is required to hold back 25% to 50% of the proceeds from the sale. This is held until the CRA has processed the paperwork and received the money from the lawyer. It is essential to plan for this delay in cash from the proceeds of the sale so that you can pay out the mortgage or other financial charges.

Next Steps

The steps above are a guideline as to what you can expect. With an experienced realtor and a local accountant and lawyer on your team, this will not be a difficult process. Marion will set you up with the professional you need to meet with so that you have full support before, during, and after this process.

If you think I would be a good fit to work with you and your family, and you are not already working with a Whistler realtor, please contact me.

It’s a Good Life in Whistler!

Marion

Marion Anderson *PREC manderson@sutton.com (604) 938-3885

Marion Anderson *PREC manderson@sutton.com (604) 938-3885