Do I Qualify as a First-Time Home Buyer?

What is the “First-Time Home Buyer” Incentive?

In terms of what financially qualifies as a first-time home buyer, there are specific, technical requirements. Once you’ve owned a home, you won’t qualify for the “first-time home buyer incentive”. There are exceptions to this rule, based on individual circumstances and the province that the property is located. 

The first-time home buyer incentive is a rebate on the land transfer tax (or property transfer tax) associated with the value of the property you have purchased. Anyone over the age of 18, who has never owned a home before can qualify for the Land transfer tax rebate. Land transfer taxes are levied on properties in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. However, the land transfer tax rebates are only available in provinces where the amount of the tax is significant. The chart that is linked below provides some insight as to how much you can qualify for, contingent on the province and value of the property. 

I’ve Never Owned A Home, But My Spouse Has. Do I Qualify?

This is a complicated question. It is all contingent on the Ministry of Finance’s conditions for the province that you have purchased in.

The short answer is yes, if you live in Ontario or British Columbia. “A qualifying purchaser may claim a refund in proportion to his or her spouse’s interest if that purchaser’s spouse has owned a home before becoming the purchaser’s spouse, but not while being that purchaser’s spouse.” In other words, if you were already married when they owned a house, then you are not eligible. If, however, they no longer owned a house at the time you wed, you are eligible. The catch is, you will only receive the rebate for your portion of the payment. If you purchase a house on Prince Edward Island, you cannot claim the tax rebate if your spouse has owned a house, even if you never have.

To better understand your circumstances, it would be best to reach out to a real estate lawyer.

If you have owned a house anywhere in the world, you will not qualify as for the first-time home buyer incentive.

If you and your child are purchasing a home 50/50, your child can still claim 50% of the rebate.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Finance, the owner can only qualify for the tax rebate if they are using the house as the principal residence within the first nine months after purchasing the property.

For information on different provinces qualifications:

Ministry of Finance – Ontario

Ministry of Finance – British Columbia

Ministry of Finance – PEI

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