First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

1. What is the home buyers’ tax credit (HBTC)?

For 2009 and subsequent years, the HBTC is a new non-refundable tax credit, based on an amount of $5,000, for certain home buyers that acquire a qualifying home after January 27, 2009 (i.e., generally means that the closing is after this date).

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2. How is the new HBTC calculated?

The HBTC is calculated by multiplying the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2009) by $5,000. For 2009, the credit will be $750.

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Am I eligible for the HBTC?

You will qualify for the HBTC if:

  • you or your spouse or common-law partner acquired a qualifying home; and
  • you did not live in another home owned by you or your spouse or common-law partner in the year of acquisition or in any of the four preceding years.

If you are a person with a disability or are buying a house for a related person with a disability, you do not have to be a first-time home buyer. However, the home must be acquired to enable the person with the disability to live in a more accessible dwelling or in an environment better suited to the personal needs and care of that person.

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4. What is a qualifying home?

A qualifying home is a housing unit located in Canada acquired after January 27, 2009. This includes existing homes and those being constructed. Single-family homes, semi‑detached homes, townhouses, mobile homes, condominium units, and apartments in duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, or apartment buildings all qualify. A share in a co‑operative housing corporation that entitles you to possess, and gives you an equity interest in, a housing unit located in Canada also qualifies. However, a share that only provides you with a right to tenancy in the housing unit does not qualify.

Also, you must intend to occupy the home or you must intend that the related person with a disability occupy the home as a principal place of residence no later than one year after it is acquired.

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5. Who is considered a person with a disability for purposes of the HBTC?

For the purposes of the HBTC, a person with a disability is an individual who is eligible to claim a disability amount for the year in which the home is acquired, or would be eligible to claim a disability amount, if we ignore that costs for attendant care or care in a nursing home were claimed for the Medical Expense Tax Credit.

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6. If I buy a house, can my spouse or common-law partner claim the HBTC?

Either one of you can claim the credit or you can share the credit. However, the total of your combined claims cannot exceed $750.

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7. My friend and I intend to jointly purchase a home, and we both meet the conditions for the HBTC. Can we both claim the credit?

Either one of you can claim the credit or you can share the credit. However, the total of your combined claims cannot exceed $750.

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8. Do I have to register the acquisition of the home under the applicable land registration system?

Yes. Your interest in the home must be registered in accordance with the land registration system applicable to where it is located.

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9. How will I claim the HBTC?

Beginning with the 2009 personal income tax return, line 369 is incorporated into the Schedule 1, Federal Tax to allow you to claim the credit in the year in which you acquired the qualifying home.

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10. Do I have to submit any supporting documents with my income tax return?

No. However, you must ensure that this information is available, should it be requested by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

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11. Is the HBTC connected to the existing Home Buyers’ Plan?

No. Although some of the eligibility conditions for the HBTC and the Home Buyers’ Plan are similar, the two are not connected. Your eligibility for the HBTC will not change whether or not you also participate in the Home Buyers’ Plan.

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12. Where can I get more information about the new HBTC?

The CRA encourages taxpayers to check its Website often — all new forms, policies, and guidelines are posted there as soon as they become available.

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13. In which taxation year can I claim the HBTC?

You can claim the HBTC in the taxation year in which the qualifying home is acquired.

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14. If I purchase a condominium as my qualifying home in which occupancy takes place in one taxation year but the legal transfer of ownership only takes place in the subsequent taxation year, in which taxation year can I claim the HBTC?

You can claim the HBTC in the subsequent year in which your interest in the condominium (or a right in Quebec) will be registered in accordance with the land registration system or other similar system applicable where it is located.

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