First-Time Home Buyers
Land Transfer Tax Refund (Now Available On All Homes)
The Provincial Government has extended the program for the rebate of the Land Transfer Tax to ALL homes. Prior to December 13th 2007, it was limited to newly-constructed homes, but now the program is applicable to previously-occupied homes as well. First time home buyers are eligible for a refund of their Land Transfer Tax paid up to $4,000. There are limitations to qualifying. These are explained in detail on the web-site of the Ministry of Revenue at the following link.
If you are a first time buyer, and have assets invested in an RRSP, you can withdraw up to $25,000 to apply towards the purchase of a home. You are considered a first time home buyer if you have not lived in a home owned by yourself or your spouse in the last five years.
In addition to being a first time home buyer, you must have entered into a written agreement to buy or build a home and intend to occupy that home as a principal residence. Any funds you wish to withdraw under the program must have been in your RRSP for at least 90 days. If you have less than $25,000 in an RRSP, its not too late to save money. You can make a contribution to your RRSP early in the year before the RRSP deadline. You can then receive a tax refund and 90 days later withdraw the RRSP contribution for use in buying a home.
Once you have applied the RRSP funds to the purchase of your home, you are required to pay back the RRSP over 15 years. Ordinarily, you will deposit 1/15 of the amount withdrawn back into your RRSP in each of the 15 years following your home purchase. If you fail to repay an amount required in any given year, then that amount will be included in your taxable income for the year.
In addition to withdrawing RRSP funds, the Ontario government has established the Ontario Home Ownership Savings Plan (OHOSP) which provides a tax credit for contributions of up to $2,000 per year to the plan. In order to qualify, you must be earning under $40,000 per year, or have combined spousal incomes of less than $80,000 per year. Once you have signed an agreement of purchase and sale for a home, your bank will release the funds to your solicitor to be applied toward the purchase. If your plan was set up prior to January 1, 1994 and the purchase price of your home is less than $200,000 you may also receive a refund of all or part of the Land Transfer Tax payable on the purchase. This does not apply to OHOSPs set up since 1994.
NOTE: This information is based on Ontario law. It is intended to inform and not to advise and does not create a solicitor/client relationship. The statements above are general in nature. The individual facts in a given case may alter their application or involve other laws not referred to here. Any amounts referred to are subject to change.