Sale of your principal residence

When you sell your home or when you are considered to have sold it, usually you do not have to pay tax on any gain from the sale. This is the case if the property was solely your principal residence for every year you owned it. Starting in 2016, if you sold your principal residence, and it was your principal residence for every year you owned it, you do have to report the sale on page 2 of Schedule 3, Capital Gains (or Losses) in 2016.

Example

John (a resident of Canada) put his principal residence (property 1) up for sale in January 2016. Property 1 has been John’s principal residence for all years he has owned it. He purchased a new house (property 2) in February 2016 and took possession of it as his principal residence in March.  John can tick box 1 at line 179 on page 2 of Schedule 3 and designate property 1 as his principal residence for all years including 2016, assuming John finally sold property 1 before the end of 2016. This is because there is a special rule (the “1 plus” rule) that allows a taxpayer to treat both properties as a principal residence where one residence is sold and another is purchased in the same year, even though only one of them may be designated as such for that year.

Note

For dispositions that occur after October 2, 2016, for a taxpayer to be eligible for the 1 plus rule, the taxpayer must be resident in Canada during the year the principal residence is purchased. Therefore, if a taxpayer is a non-resident throughout a taxation year in which the property was purchased, the taxpayer will not be eligible for the extra year in calculating the principal residence exemption amount.

If your home was not your principal residence for every year that you owned it, you have to report the part of the capital gain on the property that relates to the years for which you did not designate the property as your principal residence. To do this, complete Form T2091(IND), Designation of a Property as a Principal Residence by an Individual (Other Than a Personal Trust). You are also required to complete the applicable sections of Schedule 3 as indicated on page 2 of the schedule. If you are the legal representative for a deceased person, you can designate a property using Form T1255, Designation of a Property as a Principal Residence by the Legal Representative of a Deceased Individual.

Note

Because your home is considered personal-use property, if you have a loss at the time you sell or are considered to have sold your home, you are not allowed to claim the loss.

If only a part of your home qualifies as your principal residence and you used the other part to earn or produce income, you have to split the selling price and the adjusted cost base between the part you used for your principal residence and the part you used for other purposes (for example, rental or business). You can do this by using square metres or the number of rooms, as long as the split is reasonable. See Did you file Form T664? if you filed a capital gains election on the property you disposed of. If you did file Form T664 you may need to complete the T2091(IND)-WS, Principal residence worksheet.
 
If you sold more than one property in the same calendar year and each property was, at one time, your principal residence, you must show this by ticking box 3 at line 179 on page 2 of Schedule 3, Capital Gains (or Losses) in 2016, and by providing the applicable information requested for each property on the same page. In addition, you may have to complete a separate Form T2091 (IND) for each property to calculate the amount of capital gain, if any, to report.
 

Example

In 2016, Jackie disposed of three properties. Property 1 was acquired by Jackie in 2000 and he designated it as his principal residence from 2000 to 2005. He acquired Property 2 in 2006 and he designated this property as his principal residence from 2006 to 2010. Jackie acquired Property 3 in 2011 and he designated it as his principal residence from 2011 to 2016. On his Schedule 3, Jackie ticks box 3 at line 179 on page 2 and also completes the address information, year of acquisition and proceeds of disposition for each of the three properties. He then completes Form T2091 (IND) for each property to calculate the amount of capital gain, if any, he needs to report at line 158 on page 1 of his Schedule 3.

Completing your Schedule 3

Report on line 138 of Schedule 3 only the gain on the part you used to produce income. You are also required to complete page 2 of Schedule 3 to report the sale of your principal residence. For information on how to report the gain see Real estate, depreciable property, and other properties. You will also find an example showing how to report the capital gain on a disposition of land and building for a principal residence partly used for earning income.

Forms and publications

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