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By Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels
09 January, 2015
Belgium is no longer the most attractive location for owner-occupiers to buy, own, or sell real estate, according to a new report that reviewed the tax rules in 11 European countries.
The second European Real Estate Tax Study, produced by Deloitte, says that the country is currently among the most expensive when it comes to transaction costs, with significantly higher stamp duty than the other locations assessed. Belgium also has the highest tax rate for second unrented properties and for properties rented for professional use.
The study explains that Belgium's increased tax burden is due to changes to the housing bonus system, which allows a portion of mortgage costs to be deducted from taxes over a number of years. Belgium had offered one of the most attractive regimes in this respect, but changes introduced as part of the country's sixth state reform have hit its appeal.
However, Belgium is unusual in that there is no capital gains tax on the sale of a second rented or unrented property, subject to conditions. Out of the 11 countries surveyed, only the Netherlands and Italy offer similar concessions.
The survey assessed the rules in place in Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
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