moving into pre-build condo and then moving back to original house


I would appreciate your advice on our dilemma: About two years ago, my wife and I bought a pre-sale condo in downtown Vancouver with the view to sell our house and move to the condo on completion. The completion is expected to be just over a month from now. The problem is that we haven’t been able to sell our house (that we listed 4 months ago) at the price we (and our realtor) believe is right. We have a mortgage offer to close the condo but cannot afford to keep both properties for too long. We would be grateful if you could kindly let us know the tax consequence of each of the following situations:
1. Situation A: We move to the condo and keep the house listed until we sell it. How long do we have to sell before we incur a capital gain tax on the difference between our house’s fair market value at the time we change our principal residence to the condo and the date we sell the house?  How is the fair market value determined? Is it the price at which we have listed, or a different price?
2. Situation B: We move to the condo and keep the house listed but realize after a while that we are still unable to sell it at the listed price. We then sell the condo and move back to the house. Do we have to pay capital gain tax on our gain in selling the condo?


david ingram replies:

You are caught in a classic bind of having two homes at the same time.   In a falling market it is devestating to a prson's finances.  In today's market , it is only mildly aggravating.  But watch out and be careful.  It can change overnight.

I do not know the figures for June but in may, the average time a home was on the marlet in Vancouver was just 37 days.  If yours has been for sale for 120 days, it would seem to be over priced.  You should have an open house for realtors and get them to leave their business card wuith the price they think it should sell for.

1.    .In situatioon one above, if the house is empty for sale and it sells in a couple of months, there jjust would nto be a capital gains problem.  If it took a year and real estate went up 4% this year, the tendency of the CRA would be to want to tax you on the perceived increase.

2.   In 2 above, you wouold be taxable on the capital gain on the condo.  NO Question.

My question is: Canadian-specific

If we buy a fixer-upper to renovate and flip without renting it out what are the allowable expenses for deductions?

____________________________________________________________________ david ingram replies:  
In general anything you spend to do the fixing is a deduction from the final sale profit.  This would include but is not limited to:  

materials, subcontractors, legal, accounting, real estate commissions, surveyors, appraisals, interest on the mortgage, interest on a building loan, interest on material loans (maybe because you used a credit card to buy), truck expenses to get supplies and transport tools, afvertising, utilities, photography, landscaping, trash removal, dumping fees, building permits, architects fees, engineering fees, home inspection fees, insurance, helpers, etc.

 Remember that any profit is taxable at straight income rates on line 135.  Flipping or renovating does NOT create capital gains tax.  The following older Questions will explain that a bit.  

DAVID   A "friend" who is a BC realtor and has the flipping  question presented to her
from time to time  recently attended a seminar that was related to this
subject.  As a result she was able to provide me with some interesting
thoughts to ponder concerning "intent" and "professional background" when it comes to "flipping houses"
and tax in Canada.  You may possibly be looked at as a Developer all the
subsequent implications.

Read the full article at <>


david ingram replies:

In Canada, the purchase and sale of any piece of real estate with or without
renovations is considered a sale and subject to straight income tax unless:

1. It was bought for and clearly used as your personal residence and was
intended to be used for an indefinite period of time which is usually in the
five to ten year range.

2. It was bought as and used as a recreational property

3. It was bought for the purposes of earning long term rental income.

In the case number 1, there is no tax.

In the case of numbers 2 and 3, the sale is treated as a capital gain and
only fifty per cent of the profit is taxed at your regular tax rates.

Lots of / many (anyone caught) are taxed full tax rates when they buy a
house, move in, fix it up and sell it a year or two later and then do
another one.

Of course, most are NOT caught in these circumstances.

However, "any" flip is going to be straight income unless the person can
prove that they bought it to live in and then:

* married a person with three children and it is not big enough (had to sell
and bought bigger)

* were transferred to another city (had to sell to buy in new city)

* lost their job, were injured, etc. and can no longer afford to move in. In
this case, they would have to show that they had the finances to have paid
for it when they bought it. (Not only can they not afford it but they have
moved into their parents' basement (boomeranged).

* Inherited a house from their parents and do not need it any more. (are
living in the new house)

You can read more by going to - click on tax guide in the top
left hand corner and then click on the "capital gain" section.


This older q & A also gives an idea

My daughter is closing on a presale Yaletown condominium this summer.  She
is working until Christmas in Alberta.  She returns to Vancouver from Jan to
May and if the job becomes a full time position, then she may return to
Alberta to live.  At the time of presale, February 2004, we thought that the
suite would be assigned to her and that she would live in the suite.

I was hoping that she could declare the suite as her permanent residence
since she is only renting in Alberta and the work is not permanent.    In
May 2007, she could decide to keep or sell the suite.

What does she need to do in order to qualify the suite as her permanent


david ingram replies:

There is no absolute answer because you can call a toad a frog all day long
but it is still a toad.

To be a principal residence and tax free for income tax purposes, the
property must have been bought by her to live in and she HAS TO move into
it. - No exceptions that I know of.

You can expect that the CRA will be looking at "every" quick resale in EVERY
downtown building.

In deciding if it is a capital gain or a flip, the CRA will be looking at
the suitability of the unit as a residence, the ability to pay for the unit
and past and even future performance.

In other words if she claimed this one as a principal residence and then did
it again a year later, the CRA would have every right to go back and
reclassify the first one.

david ingram