GST on residential real estate

Dave Sran, BBA Hons, CPA, CGA
Dave Sran, BBA Hons, CPA, CGA
Dave Sran, BBA Hons, CPA, CGA

Tax Question:

How is goods and services tax (GST) applied to residential real estate?


In real estate, the beneficial owner of the property has the responsibility to collect GST and remit to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). If the property is held “in trust” by another corporation or entity, the beneficial owner is still required to register and file GST returns. It is common for third parties such as agents or property managers to be designated to collect GST on rental income. There is a special election that allows the agent to remit GST on behalf of the owner, but responsibility is still on the beneficial owner.


The following types of real estate transactions are subject to GST:

  • Sales of new residential properties
  • Substantial renovations of used residential properties by builder
  • Self-supply of new residential property
  • Residential property used for commercial purposes

The following types of real estate transactions are not subject to GST:

  • Sales of used residential properties
  • Long term rentals of residential properties
  • Renovations by “non-builders”
  • Bare land may be exempt
  • Sales of personal-use property by an individual are exempt such as vacation property or hobby farms

There are GST rebates available on the purchase of new homes and completion of eligible rental properties. However, the rebate only applies if the purchase price does not exceed a fair market value of $450,000. There are additional provincial rebates that may apply as well.

A GST registrant that sells residential real estate, may be eligible to claim GST paid (input tax credits) as well.

Dave Sran, BBA (Hons), CPA, CGA, Manager

Staff Accountant, Gilmour Knotts Chartered Accountant.

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