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BDO produces a guide entailing tax and legal regulations for property owners abroad

06/07/2018 News Team

Accountancy and tax advisory firm BDO has produced a comprehensive guide for those considering owning a property abroad. 

Foreign Property Ownership – A Guide details the legal and tax regulations for foreigners investing in property in nine countries within the Asia Pacific region, as well as in the US, Canada and the UK.  

As global mobility and investing in commercial and other real estate outside of their country increases, it is becoming more common for high net wealth families to own homes in a number of countries. Often this can be driven by their children who have chosen to undertake their university studies abroad or alternatively the desire to retire to another country once their businesses have been sold.

As a result of this, governments worldwide are closely examining investment in real estate by foreigners with many countries restricting ownership only to newly built houses in aim to expand the construction industry.

An emerging trend across several jurisdictions is the perception that foreigners are increasing domestic residential house prices resulting in governments restricting domestic banks to loan funds to foreigners to purchase a new house. The introduction of a 'vacancy levy' or 'empty homes tax' has also been enforced to encourage property owners to either live in their property or make it available for rent, adding to the supply of housing availability and affordability.

Many countries have also been negligent in the recording of foreign ownership of property with some moving towards a register of beneficial ownership to bring some transparency to the degree of ownership by people living abroad, BDO stated. 

This combined with the introduction of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) has greatly increased the level of transparency with families with real estate and bank accounts in many countries. The CRS will improve tax transparency from 2017 onwards where financial institutions will release information each year to the tax authority in their country which will be shared with tax authorities in other countries. 

So far over 100 countries have committed to the CRS including countries like BVI, Guernsey and Jersey.

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