First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit

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First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit

Written by Mark Gregorski
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood

First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit

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Homeowner Tax Tax Credit

It can be a struggle trying to get a foothold in the housing market. Purchasing a home is very expensive, and not just due to the down payment you must acquire and present to the lender before they issue you a mortgage. Numerous other expenses accompany a home purchase, such as legal fees, land transfer taxes, inspection fees, mortgage insurance, and moving costs. All these extra items can quickly add up, making the process that much more daunting. 

Luckily, you can obtain some financial aid during tax season to help pay for some of these extra costs using the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit.

What is The First Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit?

The First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit is a $5,000 non-refundable tax credit that you can claim on your tax return. The credit allows you to receive a tax rebate of $750, which can help offset some of the costs associated with your home purchase. Introduced in 2019, the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit is available to all Canadians who qualify.

Check out these tax credits for parents

Are You Eligible For The First Time Home Buyers’ Credit?

Since the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit was created to provide financial relief to those buying their first home, you must be deemed a first-time homebuyer to utilize it. There are two criteria you must meet:

  • The home you purchased qualifies
  • You haven’t lived in another home you owned, or your partner owned in the same year, or the prior four years

A special exception applies if you’re an individual with a disability who claims the disability tax credit on their tax return: you qualify for the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit even if you’ve previously owned a home. To be eligible under this exemption, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must claim the disability tax credit in the same year you purchased your home
  • The home must accommodate your needs
  • You have to move into your home within one year of purchasing it

Learn more about how to qualify for the disability tax credit

Types of Homes Eligible For The First Time Home Buyers’ Credit

Whether they’re existing properties or new constructions, most types of homes satisfy the eligibility requirement for the tax credit. These include:

  • Single-family houses
  • Townhouses
  • Semi-detached houses
  • Mobile homes
  • Condominium units
  • Apartments

In addition, you must have moved into your home no later than one year after making the purchase, and you’ve designated the home as your primary residence. The home also must be registered in your name or your partner’s name.

Thinking of purchasing a house outside of Canada? Learn how to get a mortgage abroad

How do You Apply For The First Time Home Buyers’ Credit?

Claiming the First-Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit is a simple process. When preparing your tax return, enter the amount of $5,000 on line 31270. The tax credit is calculated by multiplying the $5,000 amount by 15%, which translates to a reduction in your taxes of $750. You have the option to divide the tax credit between your return and your partner’s return, but the total amount claimed can’t exceed $5,000.

First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit FAQs

Can I still use the Home Buyers Plan if I receive the First Time Home Buyers’ Credit? 

Yes, you can apply for the Home Buyers’ Plan and still claim the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit, as these are two different programs with different criteria and rules. The First Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit is a non-refundable tax credit claimed on your tax return. The Home Buyer’s Plan lets you withdraw funds from your RRSP to put toward a down payment on your first home. You can use both programs simultaneously.

If I’m buying a house with my spouse, can we both apply for the First Time Home Buyers’ Credit?

No, you can only claim the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit once per home. If you claim the credit on your tax return, your partner can’t claim an equivalent amount and vice versa. You can, however, choose to split the credit with your partner.

What’s the difference between the First-time homebuyer incentive and the First Time Home Buyers’ Credit? 

The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive program is an initiative that the Government of Canada launched on September 2, 2019, to help people purchase their first home. Under the program, the government directly contributes funds to qualified homebuyers to reduce their mortgage in exchange for equity in their home. Homebuyers are eligible to receive up to 10% of the purchase price of the home.  The First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit help homebuyers save money by allowing them to receive cash through a tax rebate – it doesn’t have to be repaid and is available with no strings attached.

Final Thoughts

While there are many programs available for first-time homebuyers that can ease the financial burden associated with a home purchase, the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit is one of the simplest to understand and qualify for. As long as you meet the criteria, all you have to do is fill out one extra line on your tax return to get a hold of some easy money.

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