The declare: Justin Trudeau has a “secret plan to implement a tax on up to 50% of the profits on the sale of your home.”

The Conservatives repeat a declare they’ve been making for weeks, through a new assault web site, hiddenhometax.ca

The information: In late August, Conservative chief Andrew Scheer despatched celebration supporters a “Dear friend” missive on his official House of Commons letterhead, making the declare that the Liberals intend to introduce a capital positive aspects tax on the sale of major residences.

As it stands, Canada is one in every of a handful of Western nations, together with Denmark, France, Finland, the U.K. and Portugal, that exempts income made on the sale of a principal residence from capital positive aspects levies. In distinction, the United States partially taxes such positive aspects, providing an exclusion of $250,000 for people and $500,000 for married {couples} who file a joint return, then taxing the rest at a price of 20 per cent. 

Scheer’s letter — which is now being circulated on the using degree on Conservative Party letterhead as marketing campaign literature — warns of “an alarming proposal that has leaked from inside Justin Trudeau’s government,” saying that its supply was Toronto MP Adam Vaughan, the Liberals’ particular adviser on housing and concrete affairs. It particulars a “sliding scale” of capital positive aspects tax on dwelling gross sales — 50 per cent after one yr of possession, 25 per cent after two years, 15 per cent after three years, 10 per cent after four years, and 5 per cent after 5.

Internal doc cited

To again up their declare, the Conservatives have been sharing an inner Liberal celebration coverage proposal on housing, ready within the fall of 2018. It does certainly point out the capital positive aspects tax, saying it’s an “idea that has emerged from housing town halls.”

When the Tories launched their assault web site on Wednesday, they initially posted an edited model of the doc, which appeared to recommend that it was Vaughan’s personal proposal, somewhat than a submission from the whole Ontario caucus. After complaints from the Liberals, and enquiries from the media, the Conservatives changed the altered picture with a image that exhibits the precise attribution. 

The Conservatives' misleading claims about a 'secret' Liberal housing tax 1
The Liberal Ontario caucus doc that the Conservatives have been circulating on social media and a new web site lower off and condensed the unique doc, and obscured the footer info that confirmed it to be an Ontario caucus submission. (Conservative web site)

The Conservatives' misleading claims about a 'secret' Liberal housing tax 2
The Conservatives later altered the doc on their hiddenhometax web site so the footer info, together with the phrases “ON Caucus Submission” have been now not obscured. (Conservative web site)

Still, the assault website solely shares the primary web page of the Liberal coverage proposal, which was made because the celebration started the method of drafting its election platform. A copy obtained by CBC News’s Katie Simpson gives extra context. It exhibits that the capital positive aspects tax was being proposed as a part of a broader suite of doable measures aimed toward making housing extra inexpensive, together with tax-free down fee financial savings accounts, changing nationwide stress take a look at and mortgage guidelines with regional ones, and no-interest loans for ‘inexperienced’ renovations. And that all the concepts have been positioned merely as “areas to explore,” somewhat than written-in-stone suggestions. 

Overall, the Ontario caucus rated housing affordability as its second-most necessary problem, behind solely nationwide pharmacare. A levy on sugar-sweetened drinks was ranked 18th, whereas a proposal to assist create a community of environmentally sustainable trails by Toronto’s ravines, got here final at 19th. 

So, what proof is there of such a plan? 

No proof

In a phrase, none. 

The proposal is not a part of the Liberal platform, though the celebration is promising further steps to assist with housing by enhancing the present first time home-buyer incentive and by levying a new, one per cent anti-speculation tax on actual property owned by non-resident foreigners. 

Nor is there any point out of modifications to capital positive aspects within the Liberals’ costing. Some Conservative partisans have prompt that the measure is buried in a line about “new tax expenditure and government spending review,” which guarantees a further $2 billion in income in fiscal yr 2020-21, rising to $three billion by 2023-24. But the platform particulars six modifications below that heading, together with an enhanced whistle-blower program, closing company tax loopholes, and a 10 per cent luxurious tax on vehicles, boats and plane, once more giving no trace of any deliberate modifications to dwelling gross sales.  

Then there’s the truth that the Liberals, from Trudeau on down, flatly deny that they’ve any intention of adjusting the tax guidelines on major residences. 

“To be perfectly clear. Again. It’s not in our platform,” Adam Vaughan posted this week on his web site. “We’ve never considered it. It’s not something the party has endorsed. It’s not something the party will endorse. It won’t happen after we’re re-elected. Period.”

Of course, it is doable that the Liberals actually do have a “secret” agenda relating to capital positive aspects. But if that’s the case, firmly and repeatedly denying it looks as if a stupid-verging-on-suicidal political technique. Not solely would the measure be unpopular with a giant section of Canadian voters, lots of whom are relying on the worth of their dwelling to finance their retirement. The bait-and-switch would definitely shred the celebration’s credibility heading into the following election, and probably past. 

The verdict: False. The Conservatives are persevering with to advance their capital positive aspects declare with out proof and within the face of agency denials. And the coverage proposal they’re citing was clearly aimed toward speculators who flip properties after proudly owning them for lower than 5 years. 

Sources: Justin Trudeau’s Secret Plan to Tax Your Home; Conservative Party of CanadaSale of your principal residence, Government of Canada; Which Countries Have the Highest and Lowest Taxes on Residential Real Estate?, Mansion Global; Overall statutory tax charges on dividend earnings, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development; Topic No. 701 Sale of Your Home, Internal Revenue Service; Conservative marketing campaign pulls altered picture of Liberals’ coverage paper, Toronto Star; Forward: A Real Plan for the MIddle Class, Liberal Party of Canada; Enhancing the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, Parliamentary Budget Officer of Canada; Non-resident owned hypothesis and emptiness property tax, Parliamentary Budget Officer of Canada; A Responsible Fiscal Plan, Liberal Party of Canada; Response to Andrew Scheer’s Misinformation Campaign, Adam Vaughan.

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