Canadian Tax and
Financial Information
Real Estate Sales

Ads keep this website free for you. does not research or endorse any product or service appearing in ads on this site.  Before making a major financial decision you  should consult a qualified professional.

Looking for US tax information?

Need an accounting, tax or financial advisor? Look in our Directory.      Stay Connected with!      Internet Explorer - Use compatibility view for calculators to work properly!

What's New
Personal Tax
Sales Taxes
Free in 30!
Financial Planning
Real Estate
Stocks Bonds etc.
British Columbia
Atlantic Provinces
Federal Budget
Provincial Budgets
Statistics etc.
Site Map
Advertise With Us
Contact Us/About Us
Links & Resources

Personal Income Tax -> Are Real Estate Sales Taxable?
Real Estate

Real Estate Sales - Are They Taxable?  What About My Principal Residence?

The gain on the sale of real estate is a capital gain unless the property has been purchased with the intent of reselling at a profit, or developed and sold as a business endeavour.  If it is considered a business transaction, the entire profit or loss on the sale is taxable or deductible.  If the transaction is a capital gain (principal residence, summer cottage, second home, rental home, etc.), only 50% of the gain is taxable.

If the property is the taxpayer's principal residence, the principal residence exemption may eliminate all or part of the capital gain.  The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) policy used to be that the form need not be filed unless there is a taxable gain after deducting the principal residence exemption, or a capital gains election was filed in respect of the property in the taxpayer's income tax return for 1994.  However, beginning with the 2016 taxation year, all principal residence sales must be reported on the income tax return.

There aren't any set rules about how often a person can buy or build a house, move into and reside in it, then sell it, without the transactions being considered business transactions.  CRA would look at the frequency and the intent (i.e., whether the houses were being purchased or built with the goal of reselling and making a profit, or because the person wanted a new house to live in or to rent out).  They might even look at a single event of purchasing or building and reselling a house and decide that it was a business transaction, even if the house has been used as a principal residence.  Check out the current version of Interpretation Bulletin, IT-218, re profits on the sale of real estate, especially the first few paragraphs.

If land is purchased without a housing unit on it, that property cannot be considered the principal residence until the year that a house is built and you move into it.

CRA usually considers that if there is more than 1/2 hectare (1.25 acres) of property, only 1/2 hectare of the land can be considered part of the principal residence, and there would be a capital gain on the excess when the property is sold, even if the rest is the principal residence.  However, they also consider whether the property is subdividable.  Thus, if the property is 2 hectares, and is not subdividable, they may consider the whole amount of the land to be part of the principal residence.

There was a lot of information on this topic in CRA's Interpretation Bulletin IT120, Principal Residence, including the part about building on vacant land, the 1/2 hectare rule, etc.  This bulletin also contains a link to form T2091(IND) for the principal residence exemption.  This bulletin is no longer available - it was replaced by the following income tax folio on March 28, 2013:

bulletS1-F3-C2: Principal Residence

Tax Tip:  Before making any real estate investments, make sure you know the tax consequences.


Revised: October 10, 2016



Copyright © 2002 - 2016 Boat Harbour Investments Ltd. All Rights Reserved  See Reproduction of information from

Facebook  | Twitter  |  Google + |  Monthly Newsletter Sign-up  What’s New E-mail Notification RSS News Feed
The information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.  Each person's situation differs, and a professional advisor can assist you in using the information on this web site to your best advantage.
Please see our legal disclaimer regarding the use of information on our site, and our Privacy Policy regarding information that may be collected from visitors to our site.