Federal Budget 2009 - Help for Home Buyers
The 2009 Budget seems to have a little something for everyone. For people thinking about buying a home there are two important announcements. There is a increase in the amount buyers can withdraw from their RRSPs and a new First Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit. The definition of a "First Time Buyer" is different from the definition under B.C.'s Property Transfer Tax - essentially the definition of a First Time Home Buyer under this new provision is the same for taking funds from an RRSP under the Home Buyers' Plan.
HOME BUYERS' PLAN
The Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) allows first-time home buyers to withdraw amounts from a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to purchase or build a home without having to pay tax on the withdrawal. Budget 2009 proposes to increase the HBP withdrawal limit to $25,000 from $20,000.
For HBP purposes, an individual is generally considered to be a first-time home buyer if neither the individual nor the individual's spouse or common-law partner owned and lived in another home in the calendar year in which the HBP withdrawal is made or in any of the four preceding calendar years. Special rules apply to facilitate the acquisition of a home that is more accessible or better suited for the personal needs and care of an individual who is eligible for the disability tax credit, even if the first-time home-buyer requirement is not met. These rules will also be modified to provide the same $25,000 withdrawal limit.
Withdrawn funds must generally be used to acquire a home before October of the year following the year of withdrawal. Amounts withdrawn under the HBP are repayable in instalments over a period not exceeding 15 years. To the extent that a scheduled repayment for a year is not made, it is added to the participant's income for the year. A special rule denies an RRSP deduction for contributions withdrawn under the HBP within 90 days of being contributed.
This increase in the HBP withdrawal limit will apply to the 2009 and subsequent calendar years in respect of withdrawals made after January 27, 2009.
FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS' TAX CREDIT
Budget 2009 proposes to introduce a new non-refundable tax credit of 15% of closing costs based on a maximum amount of closing costs of $5,000 resulting in maximum credit of $750 for 2009 for first-time home buyers who acquire a qualifying home after January 27, 2009 (i.e. the closing is after that date). The credit for a taxation year will be calculated by reference to the lowest personal income tax rate for the year and is claimable for the taxation year in which the home is acquired. Closing costs include provincial property transfer tax, legal fees, inspection fees, appraisal costs, etc.
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An individual will be considered a first-time home buyer if neither the individual nor the individual's spouse or common-law partner owned and lived in another home in the calendar year of the home purchase or in any of the four preceding calendar years. A qualifying home is one that is currently eligible for the Home Buyers' Plan that the individual or individual's spouse or common-law partner intends to occupy as the principal place of residence not later than one year after its acquisition.
Budget 2009 also proposes that the credit be available for certain acquisitions of a home by or for the benefit of an individual who is eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC). In particular, the credit will be available in respect of a home acquired after January 27, 2009 (i.e. the closing is after that date) by an individual who is eligible for the DTC, or by an individual for the benefit of a related individual who is DTC-eligible, if the home is acquired to enable the DTC-eligible individual to live in a more accessible dwelling or in an environment better suited to the personal needs and care of that person.
For the purpose of this credit, a "DTC-eligible" individual is an individual in respect of whom an amount is deductible under the DTC for the taxation year in which the agreement to acquire the home is entered into, or would be deductible if costs for an attendant or care in a nursing home were not claimed for Medical Expense Tax Credit purposes by or on behalf of that person. Where the home is acquired by or for the benefit of a DTC-eligible individual, the home must be intended to be the principal place of residence of that individual no later than one year after its acquisition.
The credit may be claimed by the individual who acquires the home or by that individual's spouse or common-law partner. For the purpose of this credit, a home is considered to be acquired by an individual only if the individual's interest in the home is registered in accordance with the applicable land registration system.
Any unused portion of an individual's First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit may be claimed by the individual's spouse or common-law partner. Where more than one individual is entitled to the First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit (for example, where two individuals jointly buy a home), the total amount of the credits claimable for the year by those individuals shall not exceed the maximum amount of the credit that would be claimable for the year by any one of those individuals.
Bell Alliance would be pleased to answer any questions you may have about these programs. Do not hesitate to call at 604 873 8723 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Bell Alliance provides legal services in the areas of real estate, estate planning and business law. We are conveniently located at 201 - 1367 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C., V6H 4A7.
Source: Bell Alliance