Tenney, Higgins want Canada to exempt Americans from ‘Underused Housing Tax’

Posted 27 May 2023 at 7:38 am

Press Release, Congresswoman Claudia Tenney 

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24) joined with Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) in a bipartisan letter urging the United States Secretary of State to work with the Government of Canada to find a solution to exempt Americans from Canada’s Underused Housing Tax.

The push came ahead of Memorial Day weekend, which typically marks the start of the busy cross-border summer season for cottage owners.

Additional signers of the letter include Representatives Joe Courtney (CT-2), Nicholas Langworthy (NY-23), Mike Kelly (PA-16), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Brian Mast (FL-21), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Jennifer Wexton (VA-10), Nancy Mace (SC-01) and Max Miller (OH-07).

Signed by Democrats and Republicans from six states, the members note the concerns they are hearing from residents, “We write to you today to voice frustration and concern on behalf of our constituents impacted by the Government of Canada’s recently implemented Underused Housing Tax. This 1% tax on vacant or underutilized properties owned by ‘non-resident, non-Canadians,’ is unfairly impacting Americans who own property in Canada and putting the strong bond between our countries in jeopardy.”

“Canada’s Underused Housing Tax is a poorly conceived policy that threatens to drive a wedge between the United States and Canada,” said Congresswoman Claudia Tenney. “Many of my constituents have owned small homes or other properties in Canada for generations, and proposing this tax on them is unfair and unjust. Today, I join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in urging the Secretary of State to work with the Canadian government to rectify this misguided policy.”

Congressman Brian Higgins added, “For generations, many Americans have owned property in Canada, acting as good neighbors and supporting the Canadian economy. The Underused Housing Tax is an insulting and unjustified attack on these Americans who use these properties not as a prospective investment but as a second home. The tax shouldn’t be imposed on Americans. It sets a dangerous precedent for actions that damage a robust binational exchange.”

Proposed in the Government of Canada’s Budget 2021, the Underused Housing Tax is being collected for the first time this year. The 1% additional property tax was initially due by April 30, 2023. However, confusion, lack of information, and delays in obtaining the required tax ID number caused the Government of Canada to announce it was postponing fines associated with late Underused Housing Tax returns, which are a minimum of $5,000, until October 31, 2023. The Congress members are advocating for a solution to be reached before that deadline.