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  • dunnm149

GST and Unoccupied Homes

GST is charged under the Excise Tax Act of Canada. I recently had a Buyer purchase a Condo that was only a year old. It looked unoccupied to me. So what liability is there to the Seller and the Buyer?

Well, it is more complex than most in the industry guess. This issue is not well understood.

What I discovered is that the when the Builder/Developer first sells a residential House or Strata Unit GST is charged on the full purchase price and remitted by the Seller. If the unit or house was not lived in then even a second owner is deemed to be the Builder/Developer for the sale and must remit GST. In that case the second Seller would apply for re-bate of the GST paid in the original purchase and remit 5% of the Sale price to Canada Revenue Agency. Bear in mind the the Second sale price may be higher or lower and thus there maybe a difference in the GST and it my take a few weeks for CRA to process the rebate.

How does CRA determine if it was unoccupied? If CRA audits the transaction they look at a multiplicity of factors to determine if the house/condo was occupied. They review whether there were utility payments, internet service, telephone, cable service, did the owner change their driver's Licence address, etc.

For Buyers they will never be liable for the tax. But they should write their contracts of purchase to insist that any GST owing will be paid by the Seller to prevent any disputes on closing.

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