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Cyprus Information > Fees and Taxes

Fees and Taxes on Cyprus Property

1. Transfer fees: one-off payment.
The purchaser will be liable to pay the following transfer fees for the property acquired, when this is registered in his name at the Lands’ Office. The fees are charged on the property’s market value at the date of purchase:

 Property Value Fees -% Transfer fee

 Up to €85,000

3% €2,550

 85,001-€170.000

5% €4,250

 170,001 and over

8%  

The director of the Lands Office may dispute the declared value and adopt a Market Value of the property. The adopted valuation date is the date of purchase provided the sales contract is deposited at the Lands Office. If not, the actual transfer date will be adopted as the valuation date, unless proof of the purchase date is provided.

If the property is placed in joint names, e.g. the name of a couple (husband & wife) or two individuals, then the purchase value is split into two parts which results in reduced transfer fees. For example:

If €170.000 property is bought
Property on one name


Property in the names of two persons

 Up to €85,000

3% €2,550

Husband
€85,000

3% €2,550

85,001-€170,000

5% €4,250

Wife
€85,000

3% €2,550

Total Fees Payable

€6,900

Total Fees Payable

€5,100

2. Immovable property tax. The registered owner of the property is liable to an annual immovable property tax calculated on the market value of the property as at 1st January 1980.

Immovable property tax

 [a] 0 - €40.000 6 ‰ (minimum amount  €75)
 [b] €40.000 - €120.000 8 ‰
[c] €120.000 - €170.000 9 ‰
 [d] €170.000 - €300.000 11‰
[e] €300.000 - €500.000 13 ‰
[f] €500.000 -  €800.000 15 ‰
[g] €800.000 -  €3.000.000 17 ‰
[h] Over €3.000.000 19 ‰

3. Fees for the deposit of a sales contract in the Land registry: The deposit of the sales contract is advisable in order for the purchaser to exercise the defence of Specific performance against the developer/seller and benefit from the property tax exemptions. The purchaser has the right to deposit the sales contract within 6 months after signing of the contract. However the sales contract must be stamped within 30 days after signing. After this period a small penalty is imposed. The contract stamp fees are 1.5‰ for values upto €170.860 and 2.0‰ for values there after.

4. Income Tax and Capital gains tax: Dealers in land are treated under the income tax laws whereas non dealers under the Capital Gains Tax ones. Capital Gains Tax is levied at the rate of 20% on gains arising from the disposal of immovable property or the disposal of shares of companies the assets of which consist mainly of immovable property. The cost of acquisition and sale includes interest of payments paid for the acquisition. Additions to the property etc., are also deductible from gains. On the acquisition cost, the inflation rate (as this is published by the Government) is added on. Thus the tax is charged on gains which takes into account the inflation  The Gains, Tax as a whole, has minimal effects since the acquisition cost coupled with the various allowances and inflation leaves little for taxation.

Allowances for Capital Gains Tax

Capital gains tax is payable by both residents and non-residents at a rate of 20% on the gains made from the disposal / sale of immovable property in Cyprus in relation to the cost acquisition. If the property was acquired prior to 1.1.1980 the property’s value is adopted as at 1.1.1980 and this value is so recorded on the title deed. If after 1.1.1980 the actual cost of acquisition is adopted. In both cases the acquisition cost is upgraded/inflated, based on the cost of living index, so published on a monthly basis by the Cyprus Government. So, if a property is acquired at a cost of say €170.000 2 years ago and the index is, say, now +7%, the indexed cost [the cost which will be taken into account by the tax authorities is €170.000 x 107%] = €182.000.

There are several allowances to the tax which is worth mentioning.

1. If the property is the sellers’ primary residence, with land extent up to 1.500 sq.mts., there is a lifetime [i.e. once only] exception of €85.430. If it is in the names of both spouses then again the sum of €85.430 [i.e. €42.715 each] is in total. This is so, provided that one lives in the residence for the past five years prior to sale and there are no other previous claims [for the €17.000 mentioned below in paragraph 3]. If a previous allowance has been made, this previous allowance is deducted from the €85.430 allowance. This allowance of €85.430 holds good provided one claims it, within 12 months after the house is sold or within 12 months from not living in the residence.

2. If one has a house which was sold and has claimed the exception, which did not warrant the full allowance of €85.430 then the balance can be claimed from the new permanent residence, purchased. He can claim the difference provided he lives in the new residence for a period of 10 years, prior to the sale. It is repeated here that the €85.430 is for life in total of any number of residences.

3. For any other kind of property (e.g. a holiday home, plots, land), only €17.000 is exempt, and this exemption is for each registered owner, [once only] not per property, so if a gain is made by two co-owners each one is allowed the €17.000 exception. For agricultural land sold by a bona fide farmer, the exception increases to €25..630. [One cannot claim both [1] and [3] of these exceptions. The total amount that can be claimed for both allowances must amount to €85.430 maximum.

4. Exchange of property. Capital gains tax is paid on the difference between the value of the property given and the value of the property obtained.

So, if for example, one exchanges a €500.000 property with another property of €300.000, then the capital gains tax is applied on the difference of €200.000. If the exchange is equal in value, then no Capital Gains Tax is paid. 

5. Part – exchange [antiparochi]. This refers to cases where a property is “given” to say, a developer, who undertakes development on the same property and part of the new development is given to the original registered property owner, in part exchange against the value of the plot of land.  If a property is given for the development, the sales price is calculated based on the land value in analogy. So if you “give” a part exchange, a  plot to the extent of say 70%, to a developer and the total land value under the exchange is say €300.000, then the tax authorities will assume a sale of the land at [€300.000 x 70%] = €210.000 [less the relevant allowances].

All the calculations are made as follows:

Sales price:                 70% of the value

Allowances:                70% of all allowances.

 6.1.1.  Exception from capital gains tax include the following:
  • Transfers due to death and compulsory acquisition are not considered as disposal.

  • Gifts to close relatives such as spouses or children;

  • Gift to the Government or a charity;

  • Exchanges or sale in accordance with Agricultural Land Laws [Land consolidation]

  • Restructuring of Cos

If one undertakes any improvements or additions to the property, from the acquisition date/or from 1.1.80,   this will be added to the cost of the property [the indexation factor covers also the additions] and deducted from the assumed profit made from the sale, thereby reducing the liability. This is so provided when there is written proof of the improvements [including a planning permit] and in case where V.A.T. is applicable, V.A.T. must have been paid, indexed accordingly.

6.1.3. Also the following can be deducted: (Not indexed.)

  • Property transfer fees

    Legal estate agents commission + Vat on sale (illegal estate agents commission is not deductible)

  • Interest on loan made for acquisition purposes of the said property, provided it is  not for rent.

7. Caution.  Please note that the allowance of €85.430 or €17.000 is not deducted from the final tax amount calculated, but from the gains made from the sale. e.g. sale of a property:

Sale of a property                                  €100.000

Total indexed cost of the property            €60.000

Gain from the sale                                  €40.000

Less allowance                            say      €10.000

Taxable gain                                           €30.000

Capital gains tax, 20%  x €30.000             €6.000

Please refer to your accountant for further information and details of any particular transaction.

5. Other Property Taxes: These are taxes paid to the Municipality and depend on the size and value of the property. It covers refuse collection, sewerage, street lights etc. and it varies according to the area and the property’s value, from €100 - €250 annually.

6. VAT on Real Estate: For those buildings for which an application for a town planning permit was submitted prior to the 1.5.2004, no V.A.T. is charged in the event of an acquisition. For those after the above date, a V.A.T. of 19% is charged, but only once. So if you acquire a property for which V.A.T has been paid previously you will not be required to pay V.A.T. again. V.A.T is not added on the sales price for the purposes of calculating the property transfer fees.

In case of a house purchase which is classed as the main/permanent resident of the purchaser, and provided that it is not larger than 250m, the V.A.T. is refunded up to 10% (out of the 15%). This means that the V.A.T. must be fully paid and then the Authorities will require proof that the applicant is using the property as his main/permanent residence (with the production of water/EAC/CYTA bills, payment of taxes etc). The applicant will be required to declare that he/she has no other house as such (permanent), whereas foreign purchasers must live in the house 186 days p.a. at least. So, it is reasonable to expect a required period of say 6 months after the property is lived in, in order to expect the refund. V.A.T. is paid only once, so if you buy a property and you pay V.A.T. and then you decide to sell it, no V.A.T. is charged. In case you buy property in order to sell it and which is not used, not even by the purchaser, not let etc, no V.A.T. is paid, but if you decide to sell it, a V.A.T. must be charged by the original buyer to the new buyer (to be paid to the Authorities). If a person claims and receives a refund, he must live in the house for 10 years. If he leaves the house e.g. he decides to sell the property on the 8th year, he must refund the V.A.T. refund to the Authorities in proportion to the period outstanding out of the ten years e.g. 2/10. If he lives in the house for 10 years, he can acquire other property with the same V.A.T. rights. In this context house includes also a flat. It includes also those cases where a person erects a house. V.A.T. is charged on all buildings purchase and including V.A.T. on payments when building a house. Refund is only given to residents only (flats/ houses) and for no other type of buildings.

V.A.T. is "refunded" on buildings which are used as business e.g. hotels, offices, shops etc. i.e it is deducted from the V.A.T received, of the normal business transactions.

 
Purchase of property

Cost/m €

Area m

Return of 10% VAT €

Flat One bedroom

1623

65

9,175

Flat. Two bedroom

1623

100

14,113

Flat three bedroom

1495

130

17,053

Flat three bedroom

1495

150*

16,900

Detached house

1708

200*

  15,143

Semi-detached

1281

200*

Building a house

Building a house

854

130

9,657

Building a house

854

250*

10,771

Building a house

854

300*

26,000

Purchase of house from a family with 4 children plus

854

250 (grant for 145)

10,771

Purchase of house from a family with 6 children plus

1708

250 (grant for 175)

26,000

* Note: The refund of the V.A.T. applies for houses/flats with an area of up to 250m, but the V.A.T. is refunded on the area of up to 130m only. If one builts/buys a residence of more than 250m then no V.A.T. is refunded at all, as it is judged to be not in the economic zone that needs the incentive.

VAT at 15% will be charged on land acquisitions sometime in the future. - now exempt.

* Note: The house extent is calculated on the total covered area of the property, including storerooms, covered parking, covered verandas and excluding:

  • Upto   5m – engine/boiler room

  • Upto   7m – storerooms

  • Upto 36m – covered parking

  • Upto 40m – covered verandas

7. No estate duty is applicable in Cyprus. If a Cypriot or a foreign person E.U. member or not is domiciled in Cyprus all assets worldwide are estate duty exempt [see double taxation agreements].

Living in Cyprus + Inheritance Tax

In Cyprus there is no inheritance tax and if one is domiciled in Cyprus (due to the double taxation agreement between Cyprus + other countries) one is exempted from such a taxation on one’s worldwide assets.

On the other hand there is an inheritance tax in most other countries and the tax rate can reach 40% and even more. This is a substantial tax and one which comes at the worst possible time, so if one of the couple dies and the other spouse has no cash to pay the taxation, it may mean that she/he, will have to sell, perhaps, the family house to pay the tax and live in rented accommodation etc etc. It is a tax at the worst moment, since in addition of one losing his partner, he has to pay on top and possible lower his standard of living.

Cyprus is considered as being a “tax heaven” not only because it has a low income tax (the lowest in Europe) pensions are taxed at 4% instead of 22% in say the U.K. and in addition the no inheritance tax. Tax planning is needed therefore because in order for a foreign person to reap the benefits of no inheritance tax, he must prove to his own country authority, that he is domiciled in Cyprus. The word domicile is not related to the permanent resident in this context. The word domicile means that one has definitely decided to emigrate e.g. in Cyprus and live here permanently until the end of his life. He must prove that he does not intend to return to his country of origin at sometime in the future and to prove that for all intend and purposes he wishes to become “one of the locals”. It is a difficult job to persuade the original home tax authorities and we do suggest that you seek an accountant's / tax expert’s advise.

But as an indication of whether you are (+) or not (-) domiciled in Cyprus there is a short (not by any means complete) list for the readers to check, which relates to the U.K. tax authorities. Other countries of origin may have other parameters on the questions below (+) means it is for you establishing a Cypriot domiciled and (-) not.

  • Do you work in Cyprus(+)

  • Do you have a business in the U.K. – do you work in the U.K.(-)

  • How many years do you live in Cyprus(+)

  • How often do you visit the U.K.-often?(-)

  • Do your children, if young, live with you?(+)

  • Do you keep your U.K. house?(-)

  • Do you keep your British bank account (-)

  • Have you got married in Cyprus (+)

  • Do your children go to a local school?(+)

  • Do you keep substantial assets in the U.K.(-)

  • Is your business in Cyprus(+) and do you travel often in the U.K.(-).

  • Have you made a local will(+)

  • Did you buy a grave here(+)

  • Have your changed your nationality(+),

  • Did you obtain a local passport?(+)

  • Is your main bank in Cyprus?(+)

  • Etc etc

So it is not as easy as it looks. Despite the fact that it might be difficult for the tax authorities to ascertain your local assets (especially if it is registered on a Co’s name) the U.K. tax authorities are getting more and more keen to examine British citizens foreign assets (approximately 200.000 British nationals own property abroad) and based on recent reports, one must not exclude some form of an on spot investigation through local investigation offices.

 

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