Property transfer tax
Effective December 14, 2020, property transfer tax PDF forms are no longer available and legal professionals must submit returns through the web-based return.
For more information about this transition, see Information for Legal Professionals.
When you purchase or gain an interest in property that is registered at the Land Title Office, you or your legal professional must file a property transfer tax return and you must pay property transfer tax, unless you qualify for an exemption.
In most cases, property transfers are completed by a legal professional.
- Agreement for sale
- Life estate
- Fee simple
- Court order
- Quit claim
- Lease modification
- Prepaid lease
The property transfer tax is based on the fair market value of the property (land and improvements) on the day it was registered with the Land Title Office, unless you qualify for an exemption or purchase a pre-sold strata unit.
Property transfer tax should not be confused with annual property taxes. Annual property taxes are paid yearly to your municipal or rural tax office for each property you have a registered interest in to fund services in your area.
There are three rates to consider when calculating your total property transfer tax amount:
- General property transfer tax
- Further 2% on residential property over $3,000,000
- Additional property transfer tax
The general property transfer tax applies for all taxable transactions. The general property transfer tax rate is:
1% of the fair market value up to and including $200,000
2% of the fair market value greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2,000,000
3% of the fair market value greater than $2,000,000
If the property has residential property worth over $3,000,000, a further 2% tax will be applied to the residential property value greater than $3,000,000.
If the property is mixed class (such as residential and commercial), you pay the further 2% tax on only the residential portion of the property.
If the property includes land classed as farm only because it is used for an owner’s or farmer’s dwelling, up to 0.5 hectares will be treated as residential property.
If you’re a foreign national, foreign corporation or taxable trustee, you must also pay the additional property transfer tax on the fair market value of the residential portion of the property if the property is within a specified area of B.C.
See additional property transfer tax for more information on how the tax applies, the tax rate and what are the specified areas of B.C.
Estimate tax payable
Use the property transfer tax calculator to estimate the tax payable based on the fair market value of your property.
For more complex calculations, see our calculation examples.
Fair market value is the price that would be paid by a willing purchaser to a willing seller for a property (land and improvements) in the open market on the date of registration.
A property transfer is considered to be in the open market when anyone likely to be interested in purchasing the property can make an offer. For example, the seller lists the property with a realtor or advertises it for sale.
The purchase price is considered the fair market value in most cases as long as it sold in the open market and you register the property within a few months of signing the sales contract. Otherwise, you'll need to verify that the purchase price is fair market value if:
- There was a significant change in value between the sale and registration date
- The condition of the property changed between the sale and registration date
- You didn't purchase the property in the open market
Non-open market transfers
When a property transfer doesn't take place in the open market, fair market value may be determined using other means such as:
- A recent independent appraisal
- The BC Assessment property valuation
Property valuations provided by BC Assessment reflect the property’s fair market value as of July 1 of the previous year and the state of the property at October 31 of that same year. For example, the 2018 roll value reflects market conditions at July 1, 2017 and the state of the property at October 31, 2017. This means that the assessed value may not reflect the current fair market value of your property.
The current property valuation provided by BC Assessment should not be used when:
- Changes have been made to the property (e.g. rezoning) since the assessment
- Market conditions in the area of the property have changed since the assessment
- New or additional construction has been completed since the assessment
- The land is classified as farm land (class 9)