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Capital Gains Tax Canada Explained


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Capital Gains Tax Canada: What you need to know


A capital gain arises when the value of your investment on the market or selling price is greater than the original price you paid. Whenever you earn a capital gain it’s wonderful! However, the downside is you’re required to pay taxes on capital gains. You can learn more about what a capital gain is and how taxation works below.


What is a Capital Gain?


Generally speaking, a capital gain is the increase in value of an investment, such as stocks, real estate or shares. When your investment’s value increases, you are required to pay tax on it, but more on that later.


A capital gain can be either realized or unrealized. A realized capital gain occurs when you sell an investment and the selling price is greater than the original price. An unrealized capital gain occurs when the market value of an investment is greater than the original price, but you still hold the investment. You’re only required to pay tax when your capital gain is realized or, in other words, you sold it.


A capital loss is also possible. This is when the sale or market price is less than the original price. Capital losses have tax advantages because they can be used to offset the tax effect of capital gains.


What is Capital Gain Tax?


As mentioned, you’re required to pay tax on realized capital gains. Unfortunately, there isn’t a specific tax rate for capital gains. Instead, when you incur a capital gain in Canada, 50% of the capital gain is taxable. This amount is included in your income the year you incurred the capital gain.


If you also have a capital loss, you can offset the capital gain amount. A capital loss cannot be deducted unless there is a capital gain to set it off. If you only have a capital loss and no capital gain, don’t worry, you can carry it forward indefinitely or backwards 3 tax years.


Capital Gain Example


Let’s say you purchased CAPG shares for $1,000 three years ago and sold them for $2,000 this year. In order to sell the shares, you incurred a $50 fee. You also purchased CAPL shares a year ago for $1,000 and sold them for $500 this year. You incurred a $20 fee to complete this sale. Your net capital gain would be as follows:



CAPG Shares

Selling Price $2,000
Original Price $1,000
Selling Fee -$50
Capital Gain $950
Taxable Capital Gain (50%) $475

CAPL Shares

Selling Price $500
Original Price $1,000
Selling Fee -$20
Capital Loss -$520
Taxable Capital Loss (50%) -$260
Net Taxable Capital Gain ($475 – $260) $215


As you can see in the above table, your net capital gain would be $215. You would be required to include this amount in your taxable income. The amount of tax you pay depends on your tax bracket.


Documents for Taxation


When it comes to taxation, it’s always good practice to keep documentation proving the amount of money you paid and the amount of money you earned in relation to your investments. If the CRA questions or audits your capital gains or losses, you’ll have proof handy.

Author Bio

Mohamed Konate

Mohamed Konate is a personal finance expert, blogger, and marketing consultant based out of Toronto. He is a former financial services professional who worked for many years at major Canadian financial institutions where he managed the marketing strategy around various financial products ranging from credit cards to lines of credit. Mohamed is passionate about personal finance and holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Quebec (Montreal) and a Master in International Business from the University of Sherbrooke (Quebec).He is also the author of the Canadian Credit Card Guidebook. Read his full author bio

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