Tax Changes for Real Estate Sales

As of April 1, HST is no longer charged in B.C.

Find out what the April 1, 2013 elimination of HST means for home buyers and sellers in B.C.

Goodbye HST, hello PST and GST.

Oh, old friends—I am not particularly happy to see you again. While I appreciate the money I’ll be saving at the Cactus Club, I’m not thrilled with having to explain the nuances of your return and our now complex relationship.

HST was easy, with 12% Slapped on top of everything. But PST, the saucy minx, requires much more thought and consideration, as PST doesn’t apply to everything. For example, PST does not apply to resale houses. Period. Full stop. Since most of the action in the real estate market is resale, you can stop reading here. It’s a beautiful day—go out and walk the dog.

Back in the HST days, everyone paid tax on services. Realtors will now charge GST only on the commission portion of your sale. Your inspector will only charge GST, but your lawyer will charge PST and GST. While this is a change, in the big picture that cost is only a fraction of those involved in transactional resale real estate.

General Info:
If the real estate in question is a new house or a house under construction, you’ll need to consider the stage of completion, the possession dates and a myriad of other considerations when calculating tax costs. The BC Real Estate Association has created a handy calculator and fact sheets galore.

Because the new taxes can be hard to navigate, when seeking advice about specific transactions and situations, the BCREA suggests individuals seek legal and/or accounting advice, as appropriate.


A licensed realtor and seasoned expert, Leah Bach has extensive experience in the Greater Vancouver and Lower Mainland’s real estate markets. A past blogger for BCBusiness, Bach has advanced training in contract law, negotiations and risk management. | Twitter