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Understanding Land Transfer Tax Refunds for First-Time Homebuyers

Introduction to Land Transfer Tax Refunds

Land transfer tax (LTT) refunds and incentives are financial benefits offered by some provincial and municipal governments to ease the financial burden on first-time homebuyers. Recently, the eligibility for these refunds has expanded, allowing individuals with an annual income of up to $150,000 to qualify, which is an increase from the previous $120,000 limit.

What is Land Transfer Tax (LTT)?

Land transfer tax is a fee imposed by municipal or provincial authorities on property transactions. The tax is calculated using a multi-tiered rate system:

  • 0.5% on the first $55,000
  • 1% on amounts between $55,000 and $250,000
  • Higher rates for amounts exceeding $250,000

In addition to provincial LTT, cities such as Toronto, Victoria, and Vancouver levy their own municipal LTT, which can significantly increase the total tax amount for property buyers in these cities.

Provincial Land Transfer Tax Refunds

Eligibility and Refund Limits

First-time homebuyers in Ontario, for instance, can receive a provincial land transfer tax refund of up to $4,000. This refund applies when the purchase price of a home is $368,000 or more. To qualify for this refund, buyers must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have never owned or held an interest in a home
  • Meet the criteria during their marriage, if applicable

How the Refund Works

The $4,000 refund is subtracted from the total provincial land transfer tax due. For example, if the provincial LTT on a property priced at $368,000 or higher is $4,000, the buyer would effectively pay no provincial LTT after the refund.

Municipal Land Transfer Tax Refunds in Toronto

Additional Refund for Toronto Homebuyers

Homebuyers in Toronto can also receive a municipal LTT refund of up to $4,475. This refund is available for both newly constructed and resale residential properties. To be eligible, buyers must be:

  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents
  • Purchasing a home for the first time

Claiming the Municipal Refund

The municipal refund can be claimed either at the time of registration or within 18 months of the purchase. This additional refund makes the financial burden more manageable for first-time homebuyers in Toronto.

Examples of Land Transfer Tax Calculations

Purchasing a Home Outside Toronto

Consider buying a home in a city like Thunder Bay or Ottawa for $800,000. The blended rate for land transfer tax in these areas is 1.56%, which amounts to $12,475. After applying the Ontario Provincial Land Transfer Tax Refund of $4,000, the effective tax paid would be $8,475.

Purchasing a Home in Toronto

If the same $800,000 home were purchased in Toronto, the combined provincial and municipal LTT would total $24,950. With both the provincial ($4,000) and municipal ($4,475) refunds applied, the buyer would owe $16,475 in total land transfer taxes.


Understanding the nuances of land transfer tax refunds can significantly affect the financial planning of first-time homebuyers. With both provincial and municipal refunds available, eligible buyers can reduce their tax burden and make homeownership more affordable. Always check the latest eligibility criteria and consult with a real estate professional to maximize these benefits.