Flanders overhauls stamp duty

New rules on stamp duty, the amount the buyer of a property pays to the state as taxation on their purchase, come into force in Flanders from today. The standard level of stamp duty has been cut from 10% to 7%. Meanwhile, those buying a so-called “modest dwelling” costing less than 200,000 euro will be exempt from stamp duty on the first 80,000 of the price of their new home.

The figure of 200,000 euro is increased to 220,000 euro in high property value areas such as the Flemish Brabant municipality that surround Brussels. This comes to an exemption worth 5,600 euro. The Flemish Government hopes that the changes will make buying a home more accessible to more families.         

The reduction in stamp duty levels only applies to those buying a property they intend to use as their primary dwelling. In order to benefit they must move in within two years of contacts having been exchanged.  

The cadastral income, a fictitious rental value of the immovable property that is used to calculate property tax, will no longer be used to determine the level of stamp duty imposed. Previously, stamp duty of 5% properties with a low cadastral income, while the standard rate was levied on the less. This sometimes led to absurd situations whereby sizable houses were considered “modest dwellings” on which a 5% stamp duty was levied, while 10% stamp duty was often levied on modest 1 bedroom flats.  

Those taken measures to make their new home more energy efficient will be entitled to a further reduction in the stamp duty they pay. Those carrying out renovation work that significantly increases the energy efficiency of their home within the first 5 years of them having moved their will pay 6% rather than 7% stamp duty

The type of renovation required includes the complete replacement of a heating of ventilation system and the (re-isolation of at least 75% of the outer shell of the house.  

According to the Flemish Finance Minister Bart Tommelein (liberal) once all the exemptions have been taken into account less than 5% stamp duty will be payable on almost half (45%) of the houses and flats currently on sale in Flanders.