When you receive rental income in Canada, the payer, (ie. the tenant or a property manager), has to withhold non-resident tax at 25% on the gross rental income paid or credited to you. The payer is required to remit this amount to CRA on 15th day of the following month that the rental income is paid or credited to you.
At the end of the year the payer will issue an NR4 slip showing the gross rental income and non-resident tax withheld. A copy of the NR4 slip is forwarded to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
You may also choose to elect under section 216 of the Income Tax Act, which may result in tax rate lower than the 25% of gross rental income. If you intend to elect under section 216, you may apply to have taxes withheld on the net rental income rather than the gross rental income. This means you can deduct such things as mortgage interest, property taxes, strata fees, insurances and other expenses as allowed by the Income Tax Act. To do this, you would have your property manager complete a NR6 form and forward to CRA for approval. If you choose this election, you must file a s216 Tax return, even if no taxes are owing or are expecting a refund. The tax return must be filed no later than June 30 of the next year.
If the return is filed late, CRA offers very little leeway. You will be assessed 25% on the gross rental income, plus any penalty and interest which may apply.
Sale of Property
When you sell your rental property, there is also a compliance requirement for the non-resident. The non-resident vendor must inform CRA about the details of the sale within 10 days of closing.
The purchaser of the property is required to withhold 25% of the sales proceeds. The vendor may apply for a clearance certificate, which estimates taxes. Once payment is made to CRA on the estimated amount of taxes, a clearance certificate is issued, and the 25% withholding can be released to the vendor.
A final tax return would be filed to claim any overpayment made to CRA. There are several items not permitted in the calculation of the tax estimate, (items such as legal fees and real estate commissions), but which can be deducted in the final tax return.
The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended to replace professional advice where facts and circumstances may be different. No action should be taken without consulting your professional accountant. The enclosed information is based on the laws in place today and does not anticipate all specific circumstances relation to the taxation of non- residents. Enquiries related to this article should be made by email to: Sheldon Lee, B.Comm, CGA at: firstname.lastname@example.org Or write to Sang & Lee, Certified General Accountants, 103 – 7635 North Fraser Way, Burnaby, B.C., V5J-0B8