Capital gain

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A capital gain is a profit that results from a disposition of a capital asset, such as stock, bonds or real estate, where the amount realized on the disposition exceeds the adjusted cost base (ACB)[citation needed]. The gain is the difference between a higher selling price and a lower ACB. Conversely, a capital loss arises if the proceeds from the sale of a capital asset are less than the ACB.[1]

You report your gains or losses in Canadian dollars, using the exchange rate that was in effect on the day of the transaction or, if there were transactions at various times throughout the year, you can use the average annual exchange rate.[2]


The Canadian government first introduced capital gains taxes in 1972. Prior to that time, all capital gains were tax-free. Assets held in registered accounts such as Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) are exempt from tax.

Capital gains in non-registered investment accounts

In non-registered investment accounts, your capital gain is multiplied the inclusion rate to determine your taxable capital gain. Since October 2000, the inclusion rate has been 50%.[3] The inclusion rate has changed over the years.[4] Your taxable capital gain is taxed at your marginal tax rate. Capital losses can be used to offset gains in the current year, in any of the three preceding years, or in any future year.[1]

Transfering securities in kind

  • Transfering securities in kind from a non-registered to a registered account (e.g. TFSA, RRSP) is a deemed disposition which will trigger capital gains tax. If there is a loss, it cannot be used to offset gains in this case.[5]
  • So it is best to perform in kind contributions near the ACB, or if there is a significant loss, sell the securities first and then contribute the cash.

Principal residence exemption

When you sell your home, you may realize a capital gain. If the property was your principal residence for every year you owned it, you do have to report the sale on your income tax return.[6] Starting with the 2016 tax year, generally due by late April 2017, you will be required to report basic information (date of acquisition, proceeds of disposition and description of the property) on your income tax and benefit return when you sell your principal residence to claim the full principal residence exemption.[7]

If you change the use of the property, you are considered to have sold the property at its fair market value. You have to report the resulting capital gain or loss (in certain situations) in the year the change of use occurs.[8]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Canada Revenue Agency, How do you use a capital loss?, viewed February 24, 2015
  2. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Calculating and reporting your capital gains and losses, viewed February 10, 2014.
  3. Definitions for Capital gains, viewed March 10, 2015.
  4. Inclusion rates for previous years, viewed March 10, 2015.
  5., Transfer shares to your registered account, but not at a loss!, viewed February 24, 2015
  6. "Principal residence and other real estate". Canada Revenue Agency. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  7. "Reporting the sale of your principal residence for individuals". Canada Revenue Agency. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  8. "Changes in use". Canada Revenue Agency. Retrieved February 10, 2014.

Further reading

External links