A Comprehensive Guide to Foreign Rental Income Tax in Canada

Keen to explore Canada’s real estate market? Now might just be the right time. If you’re already familiar with Canada’s real estate market, then you know that the market is one of the healthiest in this region. Even better, foreign ownership of property in Toronto isn’t as complicated as you might imagine.

Overseas buyers looking for a stake in this market triple every year because of the favourable business, working, and living environments, defined by low-interest rates, strong regional economy, political stability, and ever-declining unemployment rates, among other factors.

Clearly, you’ve got a dozen reasons not to pass up an opportunity to own property here, but before you dive in head first,  you should learn a thing or two about the Canadian tax obligations and more about the intricacies of the market itself.

First off, let’s answer a few critical questions about foreign rental income tax in Canada.

foreign income exclusion

Does Your Residency Status Affect Your Tax Obligations?

The answer is yes. Canada’s tax on foreign rental income bases most of its elements on residency status. As a non-resident, you are subject to the Part XIII or Part I tax categories, plus the Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST), which is usually 15% of the purchase price of all homes within the Greater Horseshoe Region (CGH).

It’s not always simple to determine your residency status. For example, a foreign entity would still count as a non-resident. But if you are a non-resident married to a Canadian citizen, you may be exempt from NRST.

You may be Canadian, but if you don’t reside in the country for more than six months, the law identifies you as a non-resident and, therefore, you are subject to the same laws as the foreigners when it comes to tax (except the NRST). 

Meanwhile, if your stay in Canada exceeds six months, you qualify for a residency permit, which will exempt you from the levy. And if you become a permanent resident, you qualify for a rebate. Immigrants and those with a student or work visa are also free from NRST.

Also, beware that if you purchase a property to rent out – and you have no intention to become a resident of this country – you may have to pay extra taxes.

It would be best to speak to a professional to learn more about your residency status and the foreign rental income tax rate in Canada.

What Kind Of Property Can You Buy?

You can buy condos, luxury homes, commercial properties, vineyards, equestrian farms, etc., so basically any type or number of property you want. There are relatively few restrictions. You would benefit a lot from the help of a Toronto property management company when it comes to going about this entire process right.

Tax Requirements For Non-Residents

As a non-resident who owns and rents out their Canadian property, there is a 25% tax on the gross income of your property. This can be done through a withholding agent, who could be your tenant or property manager. At the end of each month, they’ll remit the tax to the Canada Revenue Agency and send you what’s left.

Type XIII Taxes

Income made from rental properties, together with that from other specific investments, are subjected to this tax category. Your tax obligation could end here, or you can go ahead and file taxes with the revenue agency through form T1158 (under section 216 of the Income Tax Act), and have your tax debt reduced by expenses. Some of the deductible expenses include:

  • Capital cost allowance
  • Insurance
  • Advertising
  • Management
  • Administration and legal fees
  • Travel
  • Utilities
  • Office expenses
  • Repair and maintenance

Here’s an example:

You own a property in Toronto whose rental income is $3,000 per month. Your yearly gross rent will be $36,000. Going by the 25% tax you are subjected to, your tax debt will be $9,000 and you’ll be left with $27,000. But if you incurred any of the deductible expenses mentioned above, it’s up to you to choose whether to elect to file your income via the form above.

As for the exact taxes you’ll pay, that will depend on the value of your property and its location. Also important to note is that electing to file under section 216 makes you liable to pay 48% surtax on your federal tax liability.

Form NR6

This form solves some of the complications presented by the tax reporting method above. Submitting it means you’ve undertaken to file your income tax return as a non-resident earning rental income from real or immovable property or timber royalty. Upon receiving the form, the agency will let your withholding agent file your monthly taxes based on the net amount as opposed to the gross income.

renting to a family member tax implications in canada

Capital Gains

Only half of the capital gains you make will be taxed. The figure will be arrived at by deducting capital expenditures, the costs you incurred when you sold and purchased the property, and other costs related to upgrading or modifying the property.

Land Transfer Tax

Property bought in provinces like Toronto will be subjected to land transfer tax, which is the same as that paid by Canadian residents. However, if you are a first-time buyer and you plan to use the acquired property as your primary residence, you may be eligible for a rebate of the same.

Real Property Tax

Local governments usually levy a property tax. Each city/municipality has its own rate, which is based on the location of your property and its assessed value. You can later have this tax deducted from your rental income when submitting your tax report.


Getting that dream home or property in Canada is possible, and with very few restrictions to deal with, the only challenge is doing it right to avoid frustrations and unnecessary expenses. Where taxes are involved, consult with a tax professional or a professional company that helps with such processes to get much-needed help and guidance.

Also, you might want to buy the absolute best property around and learn as much as you can about the existing state of the real estate market and foreign rental income tax in Canada, and that’s where Buttonwood Property Management comes in. We’re able to help you navigate this process smoothly.

Sabine Ghali
Sabine Ghali
Helping real estate investors build wealth over time

Sabine Ghali, Managing Director at Buttonwood Property Management, Award Winning Real Estate Broker and an Entrepreneur at heart. Sabine is on a mission to help investors create real estate wealth over time in the Greater Toronto Area. Sabine is published in a number of media outlets, including Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Gulf News, among many others.