On June 9, 2022, the Government of Canada implemented the new Underused Housing Tax (UHT) that will affect certain residential property owners, including some strata corporations as of December 31, 2022.
For a full overview of the Underused Housing Tax, see our previous article.
Are strata corporations obligated to file UHT returns?
Generally speaking, strata corporations are considered corporations under the Underused Housing Tax Act (UHTA) and will need to file UHT returns on residential properties—that is, guest suites or residential condo units; that contain a kitchen, a bathroom, and a separate living area. If there are more than 3 guest suites in the building, it would not be considered a residential property as defined in the UHTA.
Do strata corporations have to file UHT returns on strata-owned guest suites without a separate land title?
Whether or not guest suites without separate land title need to be reported under the UHTA depends on whether the building envelope and other common areas have a land title.
If the building envelope and the common area have a land title
Strata guest suites that are classified as common property under the land title, but do not have a separate land title registration, require a UHT filing provided they meet the criteria for a dwelling unit under the UHTA.
A dwelling unit as defined in the UHTA is a residential unit that contains private kitchen facilities, a private bathroom and a private living area.
Generally, a residential unit is a single self-contained set of rooms in a building or part of a building that is distinguished from any other such set of rooms in the building or part and that is characteristic of, and suitable as, a residence.
If the strata corporation has a BN number, an RU number must be requested, and the specified Canadian Corporation exemption may apply.
If the building envelope and the common area do not have a land title
If the building envelope and common area do not have a land title, there is no UHT filing obligation. In this case, neither the strata corporation nor other individuals meet the definition of an owner under the UHTA.
The owner of a residential property means a person that is identified as an owner in respect of the residential property under the land registration system or other similar system applicable where the residential property is located.
What is the taxable value of the guest suite when no separate land title exists?
Where the building envelope and the common area have a land title and the guest suite is considered part of the common area, the taxable value of all of the common areas assessed by the BC Property Assessment is considered the taxable value of the property.
As the unit can’t be sold independently, the CRA would accept a nil purchase price.
Who files the UHT return for the guest suite?
The name on the land registration must be the strata corporation’s name exactly as registered. If not, each unit owner is considered to have a proportionate interest in the guest suite and all affected individuals must file UHT.
For example, if the land title registration for the common area lists the owners as “The Owners of BCS ABC” and the strata corporation is only registered as “BCS ABC,” then all individual unit owners are considered to have a proportionate interest in the guest suite and each person must file UHT for their proportionate ownership.
For additional information on filing a UHT return, see our UHT Checklist or contact us with your questions.
Please note: the CRA has been making a number of updates to the interpretations of the Underused Housing Tax Act. Please contact our office to ensure you have the most up-to-date information on filing requirements.
This post has been prepared for general information purposes. It is not advice. The information presented may not fit your unique situation, please consult one of our trusted business advisors at RHN CPA for further clarification and interpretation of your circumstances.