Unnamed persons requirements in real estate
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a range of tools to ensure compliance with tax laws and to maintain the integrity of Canada's self-assessment tax system. One of the tools the CRA sometimes uses to address non-compliance and verify reported income in the real estate sector is the unnamed persons requirement.
This type of requirement is authorized by the courts and enables the CRA to obtain information from an individual or a company about third parties (unnamed person or persons). After the CRA gets this information, it can verify if the unnamed person(s) correctly reported their income and that applicable goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) was sent to the CRA.
How the CRA uses unnamed persons requirements for the real estate sector
The CRA issues unnamed persons requirements to property developers and builders that have information about buyers involved in an assignment sale. This information is used to identify taxpayers who may not be reporting correctly for both income tax purposes and GST/HST purposes.
A residential condominium tower is built over several years. Some persons buy units as an investment, with the intention to resell after the value rises. Some of them resell the rights to their condominium to a second buyer for a fee (an assignment sale) before living in the unit or taking possession.
The CRA can issue an unnamed persons requirements to the builder, who keeps track of all assignments.
If the CRA determines that a taxpayer did not correctly report income, or did not remit the GST/HST due, the CRA will make an adjustment to the taxpayer's tax return. Taxes and interest will be assessed, and penalties may be applied.
For more information on the tax implications of assignment sales, go to Tax effects of buying real estate to sell for a profit.
Between April 2015 and March 2020, the CRA issued 59 unnamed persons requirements to various developers in high-risk areas of Ontario and British Columbia, and successfully identified unreported income associated with assignment sales. The requirements were part of an overall approach to addressing risk in real estate across Canada, with a concentration in the Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver areas.
This work continues and results from these activities will be reported in the CRA's quarterly report on Real Estate Compliance Results.
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If you suspect or become aware of a business or individual that has not complied with their tax obligations, you can report a lead on tax cheating in Canada. The CRA reviews all information provided by the public to help identify taxpayers who are not complying with their tax obligations.
Correct your tax affairs
If you have failed to report some of your income to the CRA or otherwise not met your tax obligations, you may qualify for penalty relief through the Voluntary Disclosures Program. The CRA offers taxpayers the chance to come forward and correct or complete their information through this program.
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