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.