Does subdividing a lot trigger capital gains?

It could, depending on the hectares and principal residence designation

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From the April 2015 issue of the magazine.

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Capital gains on the split lots can be tricky. (Getty Images)

Capital gains on the split lots can be tricky. (Getty Images)

Q: My mother and I jointly own a house that we both live in. We got the okay to subdivide the land into two equal-sized parcels, and we each want to be the sole owner of one parcel. Is the subdivision or the change in the titles going to trigger capital gains taxes?

—M. Scott Taylor, Calgary

A: What is a hectare? I personally have no idea. The transition to metric occurred when I was in elementary school, so my ignorance is clearly not my fault. But you actually need to know how big a hectare is, or 0.5 hectares to be precise, because that is the size which will determine whether or not this plan will trigger capital gains taxes. Assuming each ‘piece’ is under 0.5 hectares and is designated as the principal residence, then the sale would not result in capital gains tax, according to the CRA. That said, pick up the phone and go through your situation with them because you won’t be able to use my elementary school excuse if they end up doing a reassessment.

Bruce Sellery is a frequent guest on financial television shows and author of Moolala. Do you have your own personal finance question? Write to us at


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