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Deloitte European Real Estate Tax Study – Second Edition

Belgium no longer most attractive country in Europe for owner-occupiers after sixth state reform

Diegem, 3 January 2015 – Deloitte today announced the results of its second European Real Estate Tax Study. This large-scale survey compares the total tax burden when buying, owning and selling real estate in eleven European countries.

Transaction costs
The study shows that Belgium is among the countries with the highest transaction costs when buying real estate. These transaction costs are stamp duty and notary fees. Belgium has by far the highest stamp duty of the countries in the study.

Annually recurring tax charges
Belgium is also one of the three countries with the highest tax rate in a comparison of annually recurring charges (personal income tax and local tax) for homeowners. Belgium has the highest tax rate for second unrented properties and properties rented for professional use.

Government grants – housing bonus
Buying a home in Belgium has traditionally been heavily subsidised by means of the housing bonus. This is reflected in tax charges when buying and owning a home over eight or even twenty years. Belgium used to be one of the most attractive countries in this respect, especially over the long term. Only the Netherlands performed better over a 20-year period. Belgium is ranked fourth best over eight years.

That has changed since the new amendments to law as part of the sixth state reform. Belgium is now in the middle bracket. In six countries, tax charges for homeowners are more expensive than they are in Belgium.

Capital gains
Owner-occupiers continue to pay no capital gains tax in almost every country. However, capital gains tax is usually payable on the sale of a second rented or unrented property. Belgium constitutes an exception here, subject to fulfilment of a number of conditions, together with the Netherlands and Italy.

About the study
The second edition of the European Real Estate Tax Study was conducted by Deloitte in Belgium in association with De Tijd and L’Echo. The study covered eleven countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

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