First Time Home Buyer Credits

Are you a first time home buyer? There are a couple of tax credits you could make use of.

First, it’s important to establish the CRA definition of a first time home buyer since it’s not as intuitive as some would think. A first time home buyer, according to the CRA, is anyone who has not lived in a home owned by oneself or one’s spouse or common-law partner in the year of acquisition, or in any of the four preceding years. Thus, even if you, or your spouse/common law partner have previously owned a home that you lived in, so long as you have not been doing so in the 5 years prior to you new home purchase, you are considered a first time home buyer.

The first credit available is Home Buyer’s amount, which is a $5,000 non-refundable tax credit to be applied to your tax return for the taxation year in which your house was purchased.

Another well known but often underutilized credit, is the Home Buyers’ RRSP. This allows those qualifying as first time home to make an RRSP withdrawal, up to $25,000, for the purposes of purchasing a home, provided that the withdrawn money was deposited no less than 89 days prior to your HB RRSP withdrawal. The HB RRSP is a great way to save towards a down payment for a house and receive a refund from the government. Depending on your total income level, you could receive up to 46% on your RRSP deposits.

The First Time HB RRSP withdrawal allows for up to 15 years amortized repayment of the withdrawn amount to be paid back into the RRSP, starting 2 years after the initial withdrawal.

As an aside, be sure to remind your lawyer if you are a first time home buyer (not by the CRA definition, but actually purchasing your first home), in order to receive a reduction on your land transfer taxes. Remember however, you may only qualify for this reduction once, even if you’ve purchased a house anywhere in the world prior to purchasing a house in Ontario you would forego any land transfer reductions.

For more details on the definition of a first time home buyer and the non-refundable tax credit that is applied for the home buyers’ amount, please visit the CRA website at:
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/bdgt/2009/fqhbtc-eng.html

To get more details on the Home Buyers’ Plan for your RRSP’s please the CRA website has the details at:
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/rrsp-reer/hbp-rap/menu-eng.html

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