Small Scale Meat

About 2 weeks ago a member of the National Farmer’s Union Livestock Committee brought forward a tax issue regarding the Underused Housing Tax that may be causing concern for SSMPA members as well. There are accounting firms interpreting the new tax guidance, claiming it says farmers who own more than one house must file a form in regard to the Underused Housing Tax (UHT) or face a serious penalty. Thank you to Cathy Holtslander, Policy Director at the National Farmers Union for researching this and providing the following information:

This is a new tax, aimed at foreign owners who buy up residential property for speculative purposes and withhold the housing from the rental market. The tax is intended to make this practice less attractive and increase the available housing supply. The wording of the Act and the Canada Revenue Agency web pages are a bit hard to follow, and it appears some accountants and politicians are using their position to scare farmers into paying for unnecessary fees and/or trying to make farmers angry about it for political gain. This did not seem right to me, so I investigated. It took quite a bit of digging, and I was recently able to discuss our concerns with a member of Canada Revenue Agency’s Technical Team for the UHT who was able to answer my questions and provided the information we need:

First and foremost, the filing deadline for the UHT is OCTOBER 31 (not April 30), so if you are unsure of your status you have lots of time to sort it out. (see Underused Housing Tax penalties and interest waived )

Since the deadline has been extended until October 31, feel free to complete your taxes without filing the UHT form.

The tax sets out three kinds of tax payers:
1) those who are not “affected owners” — they do not have to file;
2) those who are “affected owner”s and are exempt — they have to file, but do not have to pay the tax;
3) those who are “affected owners” and not exempt — they have to file and pay the tax.

The vast majority of Canadian Citizens and permanent residents are NOT “affected owners” and thus DO NOT have to file.

Some Canadian owners of residential property are affected owners if they are a member of a business partnership that owns residential property and the partnership’s name is on the title. Being partners in life (ie married or common law spouses) or co-ownership of property is NOT a partnership for the purposes of this tax.

What is or is not a business partnership is defined under provincial law, so the CRA cannot provide a definition that applies everywhere, however provincial laws generally define a partnership as “two or more persons carrying on a business in common with a view to profit.” In some provinces there must be a written partnership agreement as evidence of the partnership. The CRA doesn’t make a determination of whether or not a person is a member of a partnership, so this is largely a matter of self-identification on your taxes.

If a business partnership owns residential property for rent, the partnership files a T776 form with its taxes. If your partnership files a T776 for rental income then you should file a UHT form. If you do not file a T776 you are probably not an affected owner.

Owners of privately held Canadian corporations that own residential property may be considered “affected owners” and if so, would need to file the form.

“Affected owners” may be exempt from paying the tax, but still have to file.

If ANY of the exemptions apply to the affected owner, they do not have to pay the tax (you only need one exemption). Partnerships, trusts and corporations whose members are all Canadian or permanent residents are exempt. Corporations that have less than 10 percent foreign ownership are also exempt.– see

The UHT form is simple enough that it does not require an accountant to fill it in. There is no need to get the property appraised – the assessed value of the property for property tax purposes is sufficient.

For all technical publications related to the UHT, go to “Underused housing tax technical information” at .

The CRA will answer your individual questions about this tax. If your situation is complex, you will be referred to their technical team, and someone will phone you back within a few days. The CRA will also provide a written determination, but that would take longer to get.

Since the deadline has been extended until October 31, feel free to complete your taxes without filing the UHT form.

For general inquiries about the underused housing tax, call the applicable telephone number: if you are calling about a residential property that is owned by an individual, call 1 800 959 8281 and if you are calling about a residential property that is owned by a corporation, call 1 800 959 5525