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My partner and I are buying a home together. I have owned a home, but he has not. Does he qualify for the First-time Homebuyers Refund of land transfer tax?

Your partner's eligibility for a refund depends on whether you are "spouses" as defined in section 29 of the Family Law Act. For land transfer tax purposes, "spouse" means either of two persons who are married to each other, or who are not married to each other and who have cohabited:

  • continuously for a period of not less than three years, or
  • in a relationship of some permanence, if they are the natural or adoptive parents of a child.

If you are not spouses, then your partner may claim a refund based on his/her interest acquired in the home. If you are spouses, your partner may claim a refund up to the maximum, as long as you did not own a home while you were each other's spouse. If you did own the home while you were each other's spouse, then your partner does not qualify for a refund even if you did not live in the house together.

The Province has restricted eligibility for the land transfer tax refund for first-time homebuyers to Canadian citizens and permanent residents as of January 1, 2017. First-time homebuyers who become Canadian citizens or permanent residents within 18 months of purchasing a home can apply for the refund within this 18-month period.

The City of Toronto has also amended the first-time homebuyer rebate program eligibility rules to make them consistent with the current Ontario Land Transfer Tax rules by restricting rebate eligibility to Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, as of March 1, 2017. 

However, unlike the changes to the Ontario Land Transfer Tax rules, the City of Toronto is not allowing a transitional period for the new MLTT rates and rules to exempt transactions initiated before March 1, 2017.

© 2015 Lawrence, Lawrence, Stevenson LLP

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