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Navigating the Proposed Amendments to the Underused Housing Tax Act

The Canadian government has proposed several key amendments to the Underused Housing Tax Act (UHTA). These changes, explained clause by clause, are critical for understanding your potential tax obligations and planning strategies.

Key Proposed Amendments:

  1. Expanded Definition of Excluded Owners (Clause 1):
  • The UHTA now includes specific trusts, partnerships, and corporations in the definition of excluded owners, meaning they are not required to file a return or pay tax under certain sections of the Act.
  • These amendments are deemed effective from January 1, 2023. So, 2022 filings are still required.
  1. Owner in Multiple Capacities (Clause 2):
  • This addresses situations where a person is an owner in more than one capacity (e.g., individually and as a trustee). Each capacity is treated separately for tax purposes.
  • Effective from January 1, 2022.
  1. Application of Tax (Clause 3):
  • Clarifies tax liability, including specific exclusions and amendments to the tax calculation.
  • Certain exclusions, like a primary place of residence, have been refined.
  • These changes are effective upon royal assent.
  1. Return Requirements (Clause 4):
  • Clarifies who must file a return, considering the capacity in which a person owns property.
  • Effective upon royal assent.
  1. Confidential Information (Clause 5):
  • Addresses the confidentiality of information collected under the Act, including who can access it and for what purposes.
  • Deemed effective from January 1, 2022.
  1. Penalties for Non-filing (Clause 6):
  • Reduces the penalties for failing to file a return, with different rates for individuals and non-individuals.
  • Effective from January 1, 2022.
  1. Inspection and Enforcement (Clause 7):
  • Expands the powers of inspection for enforcing compliance with the Act.
  • Effective upon royal assent.
  1. Liability in Non-Arm’s Length Transfers (Clause 8):
  • Introduces anti-avoidance rules for non-arms length property transfers.
  • Effective upon royal assent.

Underused Housing Tax Regulations Amendments:

  1. Definition of Residential Property (Clause 9):
  • Excludes certain condominium units from the definition of “residential property” under specific conditions.
  • Effective from December 31, 2022.
  1. Prescribed Areas and Conditions (Clause 10):
  • Specifies areas and conditions where the tax is not applicable.
  • Introduces new conditions for business-related housing.
  • Effective for the 2023 and subsequent calendar years.

Implications for Stakeholders:

  • These amendments significantly impact how the UHT is applied, especially for entities owning property in multiple capacities.
  • The reduction in penalties for non-filing and the introduction of anti-avoidance measures indicate a focus on compliance while discouraging tax evasion.
  • Understanding the nuances of these changes is essential for tax planning and compliance.


For family-owned enterprises and high-net-worth individuals, staying abreast of these legislative changes is vital for effective tax management. Consulting with the tax professionals at Shajani CPA is recommended to navigate these complex regulations and ensure compliance. As always, we’re here to help you understand these changes and adapt your strategies accordingly.

This information is for discussion purposes only and should not be considered professional advice. There is no guarantee or warrant of information on this site and it should be noted that rules and laws change regularly. You should consult a professional before considering implementing or taking any action based on information on this site. Call our team for a consultation before taking any action. ©2023 Shajani CPA.

Shajani CPA is a CPA Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer firm and provides Accountant, Bookkeeping, Tax Advice and Tax Planning services.

Nizam Shajani, Partner, LLM, CPA, CA, TEP, MBA

I enjoy formulating plans that help my clients meet their objectives. It's this sense of pride in service that facilitates client success which forms the culture of Shajani CPA.

Shajani Professional Accountants has offices in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. We’re here to support you in all of your personal and business tax and other accounting needs.