What a non-Canadian Vendor (property owner) needs to know when selling real estate in Canada

What a non-Canadian property or real estate owner (vendor) needs to know when selling real estate in Prince Edward Island and Canada

The first step when selling Canadian Property is to apply for a Clearance Certificate which can take two to three weeks to clear after the closing.  This must be submitted within ten days of closing and can be applied for after conditions have been removed.

The sale of Canadian property and non-resident tax

If you are disposing of real property situated in Canada, you are subject to a non-resident withholding tax of 25% of the gross sales price.  If, however, the real property is depreciable property (e.g. property that earned rental income), then the required withholding would be 50% of the gross sales price.


You may request to have the non-resident tax withheld on the net capital gain on the disposition instead of the gross sales price.  This requires filing the appropriate forms with the CRA and also obtaining a Certificate of Compliance.

If disposing of real property that you have been renting, you must have filed your Section 216 returns reporting the rental income and expenses up to the disposition date and paid all of the tax due.  CRA will issue the clearance certificate only after all your Canadian taxes have been paid, including any taxes on rental revenue.


Even if you choose not to obtain a clearance certificate in advance of the sale in order to reduce your tax withholding, you are still required to notify the CRA within ten days of the disposition of the property.  If you fail to notify the CRA within ten days, you will be assessed a penalty of $25 a day for each day the notification is late, with a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $2,500.


You are required to file a Canadian tax return for the taxation year in which the disposition took place.  You will be able to deduct the adjusted cost basis of the property and receive credit for your expenses of sale, which could result in a refund of a portion of the tax withheld.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with your lawyer, your accountant, or CRA.

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