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How capital gains are taxed on properties and assets in Canada after death



When someone in Canada passes away, their properties and assets are not just left to their heirs without any tax implications. Instead, these items are subject to capital gains tax. This tax is calculated based on the increase in value of the properties and assets from the time they were acquired until the time of death. Essentially, it’s as if the person sold everything they owned at its fair market value right before they died.


The calculation of capital gains tax can be complex. For example, if a person bought a house for $200,000 years ago and it’s worth $500,000 when they die, the $300,000 increase is considered a capital gain. Half of this gain is taxable, meaning $150,000 is added to the deceased’s income for the year. The exact amount of tax owed depends on the total income and tax rate at the time of death.


However, there are some exemptions and special rules. The principal residence exemption allows the deceased’s primary home to be exempt from capital gains tax, which can significantly reduce the tax burden. Additionally, spouses or common-law partners can transfer properties and assets without triggering capital gains tax until the surviving partner passes away or sells the property.


Understanding how capital gains tax works after death is crucial for estate planning. Proper planning can help minimize the tax impact, ensuring that more of the estate’s value is preserved for the heirs. Consulting with a tax professional or estate planner can provide valuable guidance on managing these taxes effectively.


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