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Congressman Higgins Objects to Proposed Canadian Tax on American Property Owners

Northern Border Co-Chair Says Tax Violates U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) took to the floor of the House of Representatives in objection to Canada’s proposal for a 1% tax on residential real estate owned by non-Canadians.

Higgins Objects on House Floor to Canada Real Estate Tax on Americans.PNG


Higgins said, “For generations, Americans and Canadians have owned homes on either side of the border, making our citizens neighbors in every sense of the word. The pandemic has hurt the connections between our two countries, often making it difficult for citizens to visit their properties.” He continued, “We believe this tax is not just an unfair fine on good neighbors but a violation of the United States-Mexico-Canadian Agreement and international tax law. We are working with the Biden Administration to advocate on behalf of Americans and urge Canada to reject this proposal on Americans. Its adoption could lead to a race to the bottom for both of our countries.”

Last year, the Canadian government outlined a proposal in their “Budget 2021” document which would impose a 1% tax on non-Canadian owned residential real estate that is considered to be vacant or underused. This additional cost would impact cottage owners, who have already been denied access to their properties throughout most of the COVID-19 pandemic due to border restrictions. The proposal is scheduled to apply to properties beginning this year. Since Canada’s underused property tax proposal does not apply equally to Canadian and U.S. citizens, Congressman Higgins believes it violates USMCA’s non-discrimination provisions.

Congressman Higgins objected to the tax in a letter to President Biden before the bi-lateral meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau, raised his concerns directly with the Prime Minister on his visit to Capitol Hill, as well as in a letter to Canada’s Ambassador to the United States.  Higgins, who serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus and the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group is continuing to have discussions with the Office of the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, advocating on behalf of Western New Yorkers who would be negatively affected by it.