IMPORTANT! Given the recent announcement of the Province, this will only apply under April 1, 2012, after April 1, 2012, the Transition Rules will apply until April 1, 2013.
HST will be chargeable on every supply of real property (including mobile homes and floating homes) in Canada. However, Used Residential Housing is an Exempt Supply and therefore resale homes will not be subject to HST (they are not subject to GST either).
Generally the Vendor is liable to the government to collect and remit the HST; However in certain cases the Buyer must remit where either a) the Seller is a Non-Resident or b) the Buyer is a GST/HST registrant.
HST is due and payable on all NEW residential homes with a COMPLETION DATE on or after July 1, 2010 unless the transaction is grandfathered. A “grandfathered” transaction is one where the contract of purchase and sale was signed prior to November 18, 2009. However, in the event the “grandfathered” contract is assigned to a third party, special rules will determine whether HST is payable. The rules are in place to prevent fraudulent “grandfathering” transactions.
The HST rebate threshold has been increased to include home valued up to $525,000. The government is states that additional rebate makes the purchase of homes (with a value of less than 525k) before of after July 1, 2010, tax neutral. Buyers considering the purchase of homes below the 525k threshold should not purchase prior to July 1, 2010 simply to get a tax break.
The HST rebate threshold also applies to Rental Housing. Therefore investors looking at the condo market to place in the rental pool should be encouraged that the new HST will not effect their purchasing power.
The important take home message is that HST will not be the hyped “big bust” for the BC real estate industry. HST will have very little effect on the majority of BC residential home sales.