New York Democrat floats retaliatory measures over Canadian tax proposal for US-owned homes

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A Democratic congressman is proposing retaliatory measures against Canada if it implements a tax that would affect U.S.-owned houses in the nation.

Rep. Brian Higgins, a Democrat from New York, said the budget proposal from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which includes a national tax on vacant property owned by non-residents or non-Canadians, warrants a response from the United States.

"I would rather not have to explore that in any more detail," Higgins, whose Buffalo district borders Canada, told Politico Wednesday. "The Canadians would be wise to just reevaluate this."

NO DEAL YET ON REOPENING OF US-CANADA BORDER, TRUDEAU SAYS

If approved, Canada's 1% tax would take effect on Jan. 1 of next year.

Higgins previously suggested retaliatory measures against Canada, whose border is still closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, in a May 3 letter to Kirsten Hillman, Canada's ambassador to the U.S.

"If the Government of Canada were to implement this 1% property tax as proposed without a categorical exemption for American property owners, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, I would be forced to contemplate reciprocal measures on Canadian owners of real property in the United States, including building on the existing Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) framework or using tariff authorities to impose a new annual fee to achieve a specific, narrow and reciprocal response," he wrote.

The congressman said he "sincerely hope[d]" the two nations do not reach that point of "escalation and retaliation" but maintained that "the imposition of this property tax without dispensation for American citizens would make efforts to repair these ties exponentially more difficult in [his] community in Western New York."

Trudeau announced during the recent G-7 Summit the two nations had not yet reached an agreement to reopen the border, so it would continue restricting many U.S. property owners from accessing their now-vacant Canadian homes.

"We will continue to work closely together on moving forward in the right way, but each of us always will put at the forefront the interests and the safety of our own citizens," Trudeau said on June 13.

Many Canadians own homes in the U.S., and people from western New York own cottages bordering Ontario's beaches on Lake Erie, according to Higgins. A top Canadian official argued Canadian homes should be reserved for Canadian families.

"Houses in Canada are for Canadian families to live in," said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland in April. "So, that’s the thinking here."

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Officials for both countries have said the U.S.-Canada border will remain closed to nonessential travel until July 21.

Representatives for Higgins and Trudeau did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner's requests for comment.

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Tags: News, Canada, Tax, Housing, Justin Trudeau

Original Author: Carly Roman

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New York Democrat floats retaliatory measures over Canadian tax proposal for US-owned homes

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