Tax alert

Federal government relieves GST on new rental construction

insight featured image

An enhanced rebate is proposed to be available to landlords of new residential rental buildings, as the federal government announces relief for the goods and services tax (GST) on the construction of purpose-built rental housing. This rebate, which is effective immediately, will apply to certain apartment buildings, student housing, and senior residences built for long-term rental accommodation. Specifically, the enhanced rebate will apply provided that construction begins on or after September 14, 2023 and before December 31, 2030, and is completed by December 31, 2035.  

The federal government announced these changes on September 14, 2023, in response to recent calls to action with respect to housing affordability in Canada. Legislation related to these changes hasn’t been tabled yet; however, it’s expected that the Excise Tax Act will be amended to allow for the new rebate.  

If enacted, this proposal will increase the rental rebate to 100% (from 36%) of the GST and federal portion of HST. The proposed relief also removes the existing GST phase-out thresholds for qualifying purpose-built rental housing projects. Rental buildings must generally contain at least four self-contained apartments for residential units to qualify, and student and senior housing must have at least 10 units. The building must also contain at least 90% long-term residential units to qualify. The enhanced rebate doesn’t apply to substantial renovations of existing residential properties, as it’s intended to increase overall housing supply. 


While builders are already entitled to input tax credits on their costs of construction, those who ultimately sell or decide to act as landlords for newly constructed buildings are required to charge or otherwise remit the GST/HST on the fair market value on first occupancy or substantial completion of the building, whichever is later. The use of the residential units in the apartment building for long-term rental represents the use of the building in an exempt supply; thus, the GST/HST forms a cost on completion for landlords.  

Prior to these changes, only non-profit organizations, co-operative housing corporations, public institutions, or charities were able to receive a full rebate of the GST on apartment buildings, provided certain criteria were met.  

Provincial sales tax

The federal government has also called on all provinces to remove their provincial sales taxes (PST) in line with the federal relief. The Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador governments have followed up with their intentions to remove the provincial portion of the HST on purpose-built rental housing. In addition, the British Columbia government committed to removing the PST from certain construction costs for purpose-built rentals.  


Our experienced sales tax professionals can help you assess how this change could affect you, as this tax relief is new and it’s uncertain how the rebate or parallel PST measures will apply at this time. Stay tuned for more updates as new details become available. Contact your local advisor or reach out to us here


The information contained herein is general in nature and is based on proposals that are subject to change. It is not, and should not be construed as, accounting, legal or tax advice or an opinion provided by Grant Thornton LLP to the reader. This material may not be applicable to, or suitable for, specific circumstances or needs and may require consideration of other factors not described herein.