Canadian Housing Tax Break
Due to Canadas tax systems Principal Residence Exemption, when we sell our homes, any increased value or capital gains are not taxed.
This generous tax break matters to Canadian homeowners. Collectively, we have about $3 trillion in home equity and our homes are often our largest financial asset.
However, starting with our 2016 income tax returns, there are some changes in how homeowners qualify for the Principal Residence Exemption.
Until now, the Canada Revenue Agency has not required Canadians to report on a home sale when during tax season. If you sold your home in 2016 or later, you will need to complete a Schedule 3, Capital Gains of the T1 Income Tax and Benefit Return in order to report your sale.
The good news is that, in terms of taxes, nothing has changed. The same tax benefit is available to anyone who sells their home, provided the property was the principal residence for every year you owned it even if you use part of your home for business purposes. There is no new tax involved only a requirement that we report the sale details on our tax returns.
So, if there is still no tax to pay, why the extra paperwork?
When it comes to taxes, not everyone plays by the rules. The Principal Residence Exemption is a very generous tax break and it is occasionally misused by those involved in speculative house flipping in order to evade taxes on their profits. In these cases, people were claiming the exemption for homes they owned, but may never have lived in. Reporting these sales allows the government to make sure that only eligible homeowners get the benefit that they are entitled to.
So, if you sold you home in 2016, make sure to report the sale when you file your 2016 tax return. You will still get the same tax break and you will help prevent the misuse of this important homeowner tax benefit.
Scotiabank Nowcast: Employment Gains Continued Prior to Omicron Spread, Q4-2021 GDP at 6.22%
This note is part of a series that will be published after important data releases, documenting mechanical updates of the nowcast for Canadian GDP coming from the Scotiabank nowcasting model. The evolution of this nowcast will inform Scotiabank Economics official macroeconomic outlook.
The Canadian labour market continued to power ahead in December according to Statistics Canadas labour force survey (LFS), with the net gain of +55K jobs for the month that brought the unemployment rate down to 5.9%, just 0.2 ppts above the level of February 2020. This bodes well for the overall Canadian GDP growth in December and is in line with our Q4-2021 estimate of +6.22% Q/Q SAAR.
The timing of the survey (December 5 to 11) means that it largely missed the beginning of the spread of the Omicron variant and the late-December tightening in public health measures that occurred in response to it. The flooding in BC, a source of downside risk to the short term outlook, occurred after the LFS was completed in November. In December, however, the LFS picked up the beginning of the reconstruction phase, according to StatCan. As a result, we are not likely to find out the true impact of this disaster on the labour market until the November survey of employment, payrolls and hours (SEPH) is released in late January.
With these caveats, the underlying picture of the labour market in Canada is one of continuing recovery. The ratio of employment to population (61.5%), the labour force participation rate (65.3%), the unemployment rate (5.9%) are all within 0.2 0.3 ppts of their respective February 2020 levels, signalling a rapid diminishing of the labour market slack. Even the ranks of those unemployed for 52 weeks or longer, while still significantly elevated at 293K (Feb 2020: 179K), continued to fall rapidly in December.
The tightness in the labour market spurred a recovery in wages, which grew 2.7% y/y in December, although this increase was much weaker than the rate of inflation over the same period. While the spread of the Omicron variant will likely lead to short term weakness in employment, in particular in the high-contact industries that are subject to public health restrictions, it is already exacerbating labour shortages in essential services as scores of employees self-isolate having tested positive for the virus.
With inflation running significantly above the Bank of Canadas inflation-control target range, the labour market slack essentially gone and wages picking up, the short term impact of the Omicron spread is unlikely to alter the Bank of Canada on its path to higher rates in 2022.
Source: Scotiabank Global Economics
OSFI maintains Qualifying rate at mortgage contract rate plus 2 percent or 5.25 percent
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) confirmed that the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages will remain the greater of the mortgage contract rate plus 2 percent or 5.25 percent.
In an environment characterized by increased household indebtedness and low interest rates, it is essential that lenders test their borrowers to ensure that mortgages can continue to be paid during more adverse conditions. This environment supports todays decision to maintain the current minimum qualifying rate.
Mortgages are typically one of the largest exposures that banks carry on their balance sheets. Ensuring that borrowers can continue to repay their mortgage loans strongly contributes to the safety and soundness of Canadas financial system.
OSFI reviews and communicates the minimum qualifying rate at least every December. Throughout the year, we will continue to monitor the appropriateness of the minimum qualifying rate and will make further adjustments, if conditions warrant.