Boosted Tax Break for Purpose-built Rental Properties

"Canadian Government Proposes Legislation to Boost Rental Housing Supply and Affordability"

On September 14, 2023, the Government of Canada made an important announcement regarding proposed legislation to improve the goods and services tax (GST) rental rebate on new purpose-built rental housing. This move aims to enhance the affordability of homes and stimulate the construction of rental units to meet the growing demand for housing. The government believes that by offering an enhanced GST rental rebate, it will encourage developers to increase the supply of rental units, ultimately leading to more affordable housing options for Canadians.

Currently, there is an existing GST rental rebate scheme in place. However, the government has recognized the need for improvements to make it more effective and beneficial for both developers and tenants. The proposed legislation seeks to address the limitations of the existing scheme and provide additional incentives to encourage the construction of purpose-built rental housing.

Under the existing scheme, developers are eligible to claim a rebate on a portion of the GST paid on the construction costs of new purpose-built rental housing. This rebate is intended to offset the tax burden and make the development more financially viable. However, the government has identified certain areas where the current scheme falls short and aims to rectify them through the proposed legislation.

One of the key changes proposed is an increase in the percentage of the GST rental rebate. The government intends to enhance the rebate to provide developers with a greater financial incentive to invest in purpose-built rental housing. By increasing the rebate amount, the government hopes to stimulate the construction of more rental units and address the current shortage of affordable housing in Canada.

Additionally, the proposed legislation aims to provide more certainty and clarity regarding the eligibility criteria for the GST rental rebate. Currently, there are uncertainties surrounding the types of projects that qualify for the rebate, leading to confusion among developers. The government intends to streamline the eligibility requirements and provide clear guidelines to ensure a more consistent and transparent application process.

The proposed legislation also seeks to address some of the challenges faced by developers in claiming the GST rental rebate. The government acknowledges that the current process can be burdensome and time-consuming, which may deter developers from taking advantage of the rebate. By simplifying the application process and reducing administrative hurdles, the government hopes to encourage more developers to participate in the scheme.

The government’s announcement has been met with mixed reactions. Proponents of the enhanced GST rental rebate believe that it will provide much-needed support to the rental housing market and help alleviate the affordability crisis. They argue that by incentivizing the construction of rental units, the government can increase the supply of affordable housing and provide Canadians with more options.

However, critics have raised concerns about the potential impact on the economy and the effectiveness of the proposed legislation. They argue that simply offering a higher rebate may not be enough to address the underlying issues contributing to the housing crisis. Some suggest that the government should also focus on addressing regulatory barriers and implementing policies that promote sustainable and inclusive housing development.

In conclusion, the Government of Canada’s proposed legislation to enhance the GST rental rebate on new purpose-built rental housing represents a significant step towards addressing the affordability crisis and increasing the supply of rental units. While there are uncertainties and differing opinions surrounding the effectiveness of the proposed changes, it is clear that action is needed to ensure that all Canadians have access to safe and affordable housing. The government’s commitment to improving the existing scheme and providing additional incentives to developers is a positive move towards achieving this goal.

Barry Caldwell

Barry Caldwell

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