Capital Gains Tax in Canada
In Canada, CRA capital gains tax is charged whenever you sell an asset for a profit. It is Important to know what is capital gains and what is business income to determine if you will be taxed. Find out how to calculate capital gains tax, how much is capital gains tax, and more
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Capital Gains Tax Canada Real Estate and More
A CRA capital gains tax is charged when you sell an asset for more than you paid. This tax is paid to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). However, contrary to popular belief, you do not pay capital gains tax on the full amount of the profit. In general, how to calculate capital gains tax is to take the profit you made and divide it in half. This is the amount that will be taxed at your marginal tax rate.
Rather than using a capital gains tax calculator, you can figure out how much you’ll pay on your own. If you made a $50,000 profit from selling an asset, then 50% of this amount ($25,000) would be taxable. So this means you would add $25,000 to your income and you would be taxed as if you made $25,000 more. How much is capital gains tax? That depends on your income. The higher your annual income, the higher marginal tax rate you pay, so the more you will pay in CRA capital gains.
The marginal tax rate also varies by province, so the amount you pay will depend on where you live.
Capital gains tax Canada is not just charged on real estate properties. When most people discuss this tax, they refer to the capital gains tax Canada real estate, but this tax is also charged on any non-inventory asset. This includes property, but it also includes stocks, bonds, and precious metals. If you sell these assets for a profit, you will pay tax on them.
CRA Capital Gains Exemption Information
There are some situations where you do not have to pay CRA capital gains. One of these cases is the sale of a primary residence. A primary residence can be any residential property that is occupied by you or your family at any point during a given year.
A few years ago, the law was changed so that you need to report the sale of any residential property on your tax return, even if the property is your primary residence.
This is because the CRA wants to track all real estate purchases to ensure that primary residence claims are valid. For instance, if a person purchases a home, claims it as their primary residence, and then sells the home six months later, the CRA may conclude that this person “flipped” the property and reject the primary residence claim. Whether the agency chooses to do this will depend on several factors, but in such a case, the CRA capital gains exemption would not apply and the profits from the sale would be taxed.
You are only able to claim one primary residence at a time. There is no limit to how often you can change your primary residence, and no minimum time that you must live in a property for the exemption to apply. However, since you now have to report all property sales, the CRA can use the information you provide to investigate whether you actually lived in the property or if you are trying to avoid paying capital gains tax Canada real estate by claiming it to be your main residence.
The Lifetime CRA Capital Gains Exemption
Many years ago, there was a $500,000 lifetime capital gains exemption that applied to any asset. It was introduced in 1985. This amount was reduced to $100,000 in 1988 and eliminated completely for most assets in 1994. However, that same year, an enhanced lifetime capital gains exemption limit was introduced. It applied only to qualified small business corporation (QSBC) shares and qualified farm properties. Later, qualified fishing properties became eligible. The exemption is indexed to inflation.
To claim this exemption, you, your relative, or member of your partnership must have owned the asset for at least 24 months prior to its sale and you must have been a resident of Canada when the asset was sold.
Capital Gains Tax Canada or Business Income?
In some cases, the CRA considers the sale of an asset to be business income rather than CRA capital gains. This is an important distinction because while the capital gains tax rate applies to only 50% of the profit of a sale, business income is 100% taxable. As you can imagine, this can be a very big difference in your tax bill.
So how does the CRA differentiate between capital gains and business income? That depends on several factors.
As mentioned earlier, the CRA now requires that individuals report the sale of any residential property, even those that are considered their principal residence. This is because, in some circumstances, the CRA can consider the sale of a residence to be business income.
For example, if you owned a property, rented it out, and then sold the property, the CRA will likely consider the profits of the sale to be a capital gain. This is because you generated money from the asset by renting it and then sold it later.
However, if you purchased a property, renovated it, and then sold it for a profit, the CRA may consider this to be a business activity. This is especially true if you have purchased and sold several properties recently, or if you are a builder or contractor by profession. In these cases, the CRA will assume that you are in the business of buying and selling homes and then consider the profits of the sale to be business income.
How to Legally Reduce or Avoid Capital Gains Tax Canada
In addition to claiming a property as a primary residence, there are other ways to potentially reduce the CRA capital gains you are expected to pay.
For instance, capital gains can be offset by capital losses from other investments. In addition, donating securities to a registered charity or private foundation will not result in CRA capital gains. Finally, if you sell an asset and do not receive the money from the sale right away, then you may be able to defer the capital gain until later.
Many people worry about how to calculate capital gains tax or how much is capital gains tax. This makes sense as these taxes can be quite costly. If you are concerned about how you will be taxed for selling an asset, then you may wish to speak with a professional about your situation. If you are having trouble with the CRA regarding capital gains tax Canada real estate, if the CRA has rejected your principal residence claim, or if the agency believes the profit from a sale is actually business income, you will want to contact us right away. Having a professional on your side can make a significant difference and help you prove your case to the CRA.
Farber Tax Solutions can help you successfully deal with CRA problems. We utilize the experience of our tax experts to:
- 1| Offer a comprehensive solution that is focused on achieving the most favourable possible outcome for your tax issue;
- 2| Communicate with the CRA on your behalf and navigate the entire CRA dispute process; and
- 3| Offer a complete solution to your tax problems, including ex-CRA professionals, lawyers, and experienced accountants.