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Home  ->  Personal Income Tax -> Real Estate  ->  Cottages and second homes

Tax Implications of Owning a Cottage or Second Home

Income Tax Act s. 40(2)(g)(iii),  s. 54

Cottage as Personal-Use Property

Change in Use of the Cottage

Sale of the Cottage / Principal Residence Exemption

Selling/Gifting a Portion of the Cottage re Inclusion Rate

Tracking the Cost of the Cottage

Tracking the Cost of Your Principal Residence Resources

Tax Tips

Other Resources re Family Cottage

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Resources

Cottage as Personal-Use Property

A cottage, or second home, is considered personal-use property, if it is used primarily for the personal use or enjoyment of

bullet the taxpayer,
bullet individuals related to the taxpayer, or
bullet where the taxpayer is a trust, a beneficiary under the trust or any person related to the beneficiary

Change in Use of the Cottage

There is no deemed disposition if a person moves into their cottage, so no tax will be payable as a result of this move.  However, if the use of the property changes from personal use to being used for the purpose of gaining or producing income, such as a rental property, there is a deemed disposition.  See our article on change in use of real estate.

Sale of the Cottage / Principal Residence Exemption

When a cottage is sold, tax is payable on any capital gain, less any principal residence exemption.  If there is a capital loss, the loss is not deductible, because losses on personal-use property are not deductible except for listed personal property (LPP) losses, which can be deducted from LPP gains.

If a couple has owned both a primary home and a cottage for decades, the principal residence exemption is available for both homes for the years prior to 1982.

Selling/Gifting a Portion of the Cottage re Inclusion Rate

Given the proposed increase in the capital gains inclusion rate to 2/3rds for capital gains in excess of $250,000 in a year for individuals, if the intention is to pass the cottage on to children, it may be beneficial to explore with your tax professional whether it would be possible to transfer a portion of the title to the cottage over a few years in order to avoid the high inclusion rate.  If you plan to gift the cottage in this way or all at once, it's important to read the article Selling Capital Property Non-Arm's Length for Less than Market Value, and consult with your tax professional about this!

Keep in mind that there is no legislation yet for the inclusion rate change in the 2024 Federal Budget, which makes any planning extremely difficult!

Technical Interpretation TI 2024-1016011E5 - General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR), dated April 29, 2024 discussed whether the crystallization of an accrued gain prior to the increase in the capital gains inclusion rate is subject to GAAR. The position of CRA is that the crystallization, "solely as a means of ensuring access to the current inclusion rate, would not, in itself, be subject to GAAR".  However, the TI also stated: "It is important to note, however, that the crystallization of an accrued capital gain as part of a series of transactions, one of the main purposes of which is to obtain a tax benefit (other than, or in addition to, the taxation of an accrued gain at the current inclusion rate) would not be immune from scrutiny under the GAAR."

Tax Tip: Get professional advice on this topic!

Tracking the Cost of the Cottage

It is important to keep a record of the adjusted cost base (ACB) of both the primary home and the cottage, to be used to calculate the gain on sale, because the principal residence exemption could apply to either property.  If the cottage has been owned since before 1972, only the increase in value since December 31, 1971 is taxable, because taxation of capital gains began with the 1972 taxation year.  December 31, 1971 is the valuation day (V-day) for properties owned prior to that date.

Tracking the Cost of Your Principal Residence

Even if you don't own a second property, the ACB of your home needs to be tracked, because its status as a principal residence could change in the future, for instance if you decide to buy a cottage and at some point want to designate it as your principal residence. Resources

Selling Capital Property Non-Arm's Length for Less than Market Value

Principal Residence Exemption

Capital Gains Inclusion Rate

Real Estate and Canadian Tax Issues, Home Buyer Incentives

Residential Property Flipping Rule - Property Held Less Than 12 Months - new for 2023

Tax Tips:

Always track the ACB of your home and your 2nd home or cottage!

Plan ahead with advice from a tax professional!

Other Resources re Family Cottage

December 2020 Life in the Tax Lane video including information on family cottages

Miller Thomson - Passing on the Family Cottage

BDO - Tax Planning Strategies for Cottage Owners

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Resources

Line 12700 (line 127 prior to 2019) Capital Gains, which includes information on personal-use property under the link Capital Losses and Deductions

IT232R3 - Losses - Their Deductibility in the Loss Year or Other Years (Archived)

Income Tax Folio S1-F3-C2 Principal Residence

Revised: May 13, 2024


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