There are no restrictions on non-residents purchasing property in British Columbia. There is no citizenship requirement to own land in B.C. There are restrictions on how much time may be spent in B.C. each year as a non-resident property owner. There are also income tax considerations to be aware of when a non-resident rents out a property or sells a property in British Columbia.
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Salt Spring Island, largest of the Canadian Gulf Islands just north of the American San Juan Islands, has become a world destination for International buyers seeking a relaxed west coast lifestyle; a gentle 'cool Mediterranean' climate; wonderful boating waters; and an eclectic and stimulating community that is friendly and rich in culture. Salt Spring Island offers rural living with no compromise in services locally available.
Non-residents may move permanently to Canada and may operate a business after obtaining legal status by qualifying for immigration. New Canadian immigration rules have been in effect since June 2002. There are five main categories under which individuals may apply for permanent residence to Canada under a point system. For more information about immigrating to Canada, go to www.jamesnorris.com or www.sjlaw.ca or www.victorialaw.com or www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca/tax or contact an Immigration office close to you.
Non-residents may stay in Canada for less than 180 consecutive or cumulative days in a calendar year. For this reason, many international buyers have bought second homes on Salt Spring Island and have adopted a '6 month here and 6 month there' lifestyle.
Non-residents who overstay in Canada can be deemed to be Canadian residents for Canadian income tax purposes and be taxed in Canada on their world income, even if they have paid taxes in another country.
Non-residents who rent out a property must, by law, remit 25% of their monthly revenue to Revenue Canada in anticipation of filing a Canadian Income Tax Return on their rental 'business' by the end of the next tax year. Timely filing of the required form confirming a net loss on the rental investment may preclude the requirement for the 25% remittance.
When a non-resident owner sells Canadian property, Canadian law requires a 25% holdback of the proceeds of the sale pending filing of a Canadian Income Tax return by the end of the next tax year calculating Canadian tax owed on any Capital Gain. Alternatively, the owner may obtain a 'Clearance Certificate' that may be applied for in advance of the sale. This Certificate may reduce the holdback to a percentage of the capital gain instead.
There is a tax treaty in effect between Canada and many countries, including the U.S., which allows a credit against the tax owed in Canada in the amount of what tax has been paid in the treaty country on any capital gain. Numerous countries have signed tax conventions with Canada. For details on how this may affect your status with regards to income taxation, please consult with your tax accountant.
Caution: Regulations change and exchange rates fluctuate on a regular basis. This information is provided as a guideline only. For details on how any of this information may affect your taxation or legal status, please consult with your tax adviser or nearest immigration center.