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#211555 - 06/20/05 04:56 PM New 15% Property Transfer Tax/Stamp Duty  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,054
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
Lan Sluder/Belize First  Offline
[Sorry, accidentally posted this incorrectly in another section.]

Although there is still some confusion about the changes made last week in the real estate transfer tax, especially as regards its implementation date, it appears that the new "stamp duty" rates for real estate purchases are:

15% of selling price for everyone except Belizean citizens and Caricom nationals
5% for Belizeans and Caricom nationals

Taking a big hit are Canadians, Brits and other Commonwealth citizens, who formerly had to pay just 5% transfer tax, but who now pay the same as most other foreigners. So their stamp duty has tripled, whereas U.S. citizens have theirs increased only by 50%.

Also, the government moved to eliminate the loophole for Belizean corporations started by foreigners who previously could get the Belizean 5% rate. (Of course, in theory one could start a corporation in a Caribbean country and move it to Belize.)

I don't know how others feel about it, but in my opinion this could be the straw that broke the camel's back regarding real estate purchases by foreign citizens.

With the 15% tax, plus attorney's fees and miscellaneous costs, the "surcharge" to buy real estate in Belize for most foreigners is now nearly one-fifth of the purchase price.

On a US$300,000 condo in San Pedro, that would be US$45,000 plus attorneys fees and other closing costs.

In cash.

Guess some wealthy buyers wouldn't blink at that, but I think many ordinary buyers would find it pretty steep.

If there were a 15% surcharge upfront on real estate purchases in the U.S. or Canada, I suspect it would quickly burst the real estate bubble.

I also wonder now that the government has decided it will severely penalize foreign buyers what else it may have in store for them? Like a new non-citizen property tax rate? Or a capital gain tax for foreigners only?

--Lan Sluder

Lan Sluder/Belize First
#211556 - 06/20/05 10:06 PM Re: New 15% Property Transfer Tax/Stamp Duty  
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 3
Nut4coco Offline
Nut4coco  Offline
this has been a good and bad web site. It has been good because I have been able to get the real scoop on living in SP and Belize in general. But it has been bad in the sense that my dreams of ever living there have pretty much evaporated. You hit the nail on the head when you said the wealthy might not even blink at 15% cash. But it just about shuts out people like myself and I make a little over 125,000 a year. I guess I will start looking for somewhere else. I will still visit. Thanks for the heads up! Patrick Preciado

#211557 - 06/20/05 10:12 PM Re: New 15% Property Transfer Tax/Stamp Duty  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 8,868
SP Daily Offline
SP Daily  Offline
So Lan: Where are you gonna guide these people? Where is your next spot to promote?

#211558 - 06/20/05 10:15 PM Re: New 15% Property Transfer Tax/Stamp Duty  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,458
SimonB Offline
SimonB  Offline
The people will always finds ways to get around unfair practices by the government. I remember when the Canadian government started charging taxes on private used car sales (which had already been taxed when sold as new.) It took them years to find a solution when people started reporting the actual value of sales as thousand less than what really changed hands. They finally started charging tax on the Blue Book value of the vehicles but it took a long while. Where there's a will there's a way.

#211559 - 06/20/05 10:17 PM Re: New 15% Property Transfer Tax/Stamp Duty  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 8,868
SP Daily Offline
SP Daily  Offline
Belize Customs has been onto that scam for years. They use blue book value to determine duty.

#211560 - 06/20/05 10:44 PM Re: New 15% Property Transfer Tax/Stamp Duty  
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 11
Swimswithfishes Offline
Swimswithfishes  Offline
So when does this new increase in "Stamp Duty" become effective?

That's a hefty tax!!

Thanks for any answers..

#211561 - 06/21/05 08:15 AM Re: New 15% Property Transfer Tax/Stamp Duty  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,054
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
Lan Sluder/Belize First  Offline
I'm told now that the increased tax rate will go into effect immediately, as soon as the paperwork is done.

--Lan Sluder

Lan Sluder/Belize First
#211562 - 06/21/05 10:25 AM Re: New 15% Property Transfer Tax/Stamp Duty  
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 6,670
Amanda Syme Offline
Amanda Syme  Offline
Apart from "Rich Gringos" have a tax hike, don't forget that the Real Estate Agencies that handle business in a legitimate fashion were just hit with a raise from 4% of gross up to a 15% of gross tax.

Belize is experiencing growing pains and although it is never the popular decision, somebody needs to pay for the improvements in the quality of life, health, education and infrastruture of this nation.

Granted, Belize is not a "cheap" destination and it definitely is not a cheap place to live. But I'll tell you one thing, you couldn't PAY me to live anywhere other than here!

We gripe, but life will move on.

Perhaps folks should realize that if they want to own a little bit of paradise they need to pay their debt to our society too!

Environmental taxes, income taxes, import duties, stamp duties - these are all due and payable in most other nations in the world, why not Belize?

We must all pay for the priviledge of calling Belize our home - or our home away from home.

Get back to why we really love it here - fresh air, wonderful people, pure rainforest jungles and world class scuba diving.


#211563 - 06/21/05 10:30 AM Re: New 15% Property Transfer Tax/Stamp Duty  
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 705
krehfish Offline
krehfish  Offline
Is the tax an obligation of the seller or the buyer? If it's the buyer, why won't it more often depress values/sale prices(or at least slow escalating values) rather than burst a bubble. It seems to me that while some may not "blink", they'll still be demanding enough to expect the amenities that $345k will bring.

Flyfishing my way through mid-life crisis.
#211564 - 06/21/05 12:35 PM Re: New 15% Property Transfer Tax/Stamp Duty  
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 945
Gaz Cooper Offline
Gaz Cooper  Offline

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