Perspectives

Taxation of foreign investment in US real estate

A matter of policy

Although there was not much legislative activity in 2013, examples of regulatory activity and tax policy proposals are impacting inbound investment. It is important that investors have an understanding of the tax rules currently in place in order to effectively develop a US real estate strategy. This paper proivdes an introduction to some of the more significant tax issues non-US investors should consider.

Real estate is very much a tax-driven industry. As a result, changes in US tax policy have an impact on the relative attractiveness of real estate as an investment class for non-US investors. Increases to the US tax rates on capital gains, the taxation of the disposition of real estate, and US tax reporting requirements are often cited as examples of policies that create obstacles to investment. Over the years, real estate organizations in the United States have offered proposals that would provide some relief and have sought clarification of existing rules. These efforts have met with various degrees of success.

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