Should Alberta Adopt a Land Transfer Tax?

By University of Calgary, School of Public Policy

The School of Public Policy Publications: Should Alberta Adopt a Land Transfer Tax? February 2019

Alberta does not have a land transfer tax on the sale of real property, nor should the province contemplate bringing one in. Instead, if the Alberta government seeks new tax revenue, it should institute a sales tax or raise property taxes.

This paper examines previous research on land transfer taxes in Canada, Australia and Europe, and concludes that such a tax would only add its own volatility to that inherent to Alberta’s resource revenue-based economy. Calculations show that a one-per-cent land transfer tax in Alberta would have yielded between $460 million and $500 million for provincial coffers in 2017. However appealing that amount of revenue sounds, the tax’s benefits do not outweigh its drawbacks.




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University of Calgary, School of Public Policy

Focusing on the fundamentals of policy development, analysis and implementation, courses develop both theoretical understanding and hands-on application with a focus on developing skills in quantitative and qualitative analysis, oral and written communication, and effective teamwork. Elective courses and an independent capstone offer the opportunity to deepen understanding of one policy area.

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