Buying a property in Cyprus
1. Stamp duties
When buying property in Cyprus, the buyer typically pays for the stamp duties that need to be applied on the purchase agreement and related documents. These are paid to the Inland Revenue (i.e. the Cyprus Tax Department). Stamp duties are typically paid as follows:
Contracts of purchase. For contracts of purchase of a property in Cyprus, stamp duties are calculated on the purchase stated in the contracts on the following scale
(Each extra certified copy of a contract is charged €2.)
Power of attorney. The majority of buyers (as well as sellers) of properties give a power of attorney to the lawyers to allow them to be abroad at any moment of the transaction and to avoid multiple visits at the authorities for signing the necessary forms. A Power of Attorney need to be stamped as well. A general power of attorney’s stamp duty is €6 and a specific power of attorney’s (also referred to as limited or special power of attorney) stamp duty is €2
2. Transfer fees
A purchase of property in Cyprus is completed when the title deed is registered on the buyer. On the day of title registration, the Land Registry will estimate the market value of the property being purchased and charge the buyer Transfer Fees as follows:
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There is currently a 50% discount on the above rates and transfer fees are not chargeable at all if VAT has been paid. Typically, VAT is payable on new properties. If there is more than one buyer, the purchase price is divided by the number of buyers and the transfer fees apply for each calculated for each buyer. Each of the buyers then has a 50% discount on the transfer fees attributed to it.
3. Value Added Tax (V.A.T)
Value Added Tax (VAT) at the rate of 19% applies to the purchase price of new properties only. However, this may be reduced to 5% provided that the property is to be used as the primary and permanent residence of the applicant under the following conditions:
The reduced rate of 5% is applied only on the first 200m2 and the area exceeding the first 200m2 bears standard VAT rate of 19%.
4. Other expenses
When buying a property there are other smaller expenses, such as the cost of lodging a purchase contract or an assignment and other due diligence costs. As a way of example these are some of the typical land registry fees payable for the lodging of documents.
Owning a property in Cyprus
1. Immovable Property Tax (I.P.T.)
This tax was payable by owners of property to the Inland Revenue up until the end of 2016. Since 2017, this tax has been abolished. Whoever owned property in Cyprus before 2017 is still liable to pay the tax. I.P.T. is calculated based on the market value of the property on 01/01/1980. These apply per owner and not per property.
2. Local Authorities: Taxes & Rates
Property owned falls under either a Municipality’s or a Village Council’s jurisdiction. Taxes and rates vary depending on which Municipality/Council the property is located. Taxes roughly range from about €90 to €300 annually, depending on the size of the property. These usually entail sewage, refuse collection, street lighting and other local expenses. Basic utility rates such as Electricity and Water depend on the usage you make, usually based on meter readings. All electricity bills are issued by the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (E.A.C.) and the water bills are usually issued by the Municipality or Village Council.
3. Communal Expenses
These refer to the expenses for properties which are part of a unified complex which entail common areas. They are usually managed either directly by the residents themselves (by the Management Committee of the complex) or are delegated to property management companies who specifically deal with the upkeeping of the complex. The cost for communal expenses varies widely depending on location, size of property, and the communal area management company.
Usually, property owners insure their properties. For persons owning properties in a building complex or project, it is wise to check with the Communal Management Committee of the project first to see what kind of insurance they have and what it covers. Cost for insurance varies depending on size and condition of the property, and of course the insurance company one chooses.
5. Inheritance Tax
If you concern yourself with how your property will be taxed after you pass away, you do not need to worry. Inheritance Tax in Cyprus has been abolished since 1st January 2000.
Selling a property in Cyprus
1. Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
Capital gains tax applies on the profit made on the sale of a property at the rate of 20%. There is one, lifetime, allowance of the first €17,086 gains which are exempt for each seller, until this allowance is used up. To find the taxable profit certain costs in addition to the cost of acquisition of the property (the purchase price) are deducted from the sale price. These costs include the transfer fees paid when transferring the property on the seller’s name and certain costs for the betterment of the property (such as structural changes, installing central heating and the fees of a duly registered (in Cyprus) real estate agent).
2. Expenses for the provision of necessary documents to the buyer
Typically, a seller of property will need to provide the buyer with the following:
3. Payment of debts, utilities and taxes
When selling a property any outstanding amounts for debts, utilities and taxes must be cleared. For example, a debt covered by a mortgage on the property, amounts due to the developer of the property, any balance to the management committee for communal expenses, amounts due to the authorities for water, electricity, refuse collection etc.
4. Professional Services & Fees
The typical fees paid are those of an estate agent and a lawyer. The fees for registered and regulated real estate agents are currently capped at 5% plus V.A.T. Legal fees for property transactions are agreed between the seller and the lawyer and they are typically for a fixed amount. In addition, the law obliges sellers to present to the buyer an energy certificate of the property being sold. The cost of this ranges from €300 – €500