If you are not a US citizen and purchasing a home in the US; Following is the The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (FIRPTA). This doesn’t effect you if you are not a US citizen and purchasing a property; however, it might effect you if when it comes time to sell. We strongly advise that you seek legal counsel and/or tax advice from your attorney and CPA. Most often the easiest procedure in dealing with FIRPTA is to obtain a tax ID number or Social Security Number before you sell your property. Looking for a group of Canadians in the Phoenix area that get together for fun?
Withholding of Tax on Dispositions of United States Real Property Interests
The disposition of a U.S. real property interest by a foreign person (the transferor) is subject to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (FIRPTA) income tax withholding. FIRPTA authorized the United States to tax foreign persons on dispositions of U.S. real property interests. A disposition means “disposition” for any purpose of the Internal Revenue Code. This includes but is not limited to a sale or exchange, liquidation, redemption, gift, transfers, etc. A U.S. real property interest includes sales of interests in parcels of real property as well as sales of shares in certain U.S. corporations that are considered U.S. real property holding corporations. Persons purchasing U.S. real property interests (transferee) from foreign persons, certain purchasers’ agents, and settlement officers are required to withhold 10 percent of the amount realized (special rules for foreign corporations). Withholding is intended to ensure U.S. taxation of gains realized on disposition of such interests. The transferee/buyer is the withholding agent. If you are the transferee/buyer you must find out if the transferor is a foreign person. If the transferor is a foreign person and you fail to withhold, you may be held liable for the tax. For cases in which a U.S. business entity such as a corporation or partnership disposes of a U.S. real property interest, the business entity itself is the withholding agent.
The amount that must be withheld from the disposition of a U.S. real property interest can be adjusted pursuant to a withholding certificate issued by the IRS.
A disposition includes the sale of any U.S. real property interests in the United States or U.S. Virgin Islands.
Generally speaking, in reference to the disposition of a U.S. real property interest, the foreign person disposing of the US real property interest is referred to as the transferor.
The purchaser of the U.S. real property interest is referred to as the transferee.
Generally, the amount realized is the purchase/sales price of the U.S. real property interest but can also include any property received by the transferor and any liability relieved of by the transferor.
Generally, the buyer/transferee must determine if the seller is a foreign person. If so, the buyer/transferee is responsible for the withholding taxes.
The buyer/transfer may be held liable for the tax that should have been withheld on the purchase.
One of the most common exceptions to FIRPTA withholding is that the buyer/transferee is not required to withhold tax in a situation in which the buyer/transferee purchases real estate for use as his personal residence and the purchase price is not more than $300,000.
If you are from out of the country or out of state you need professional representation. We understand how to negotiate in this market, we know what is a good deal and what isn’t; and we understand the concept of discounted cash-flow analyses. If you are an investor you hope to earn a return commensurate with the risk you are taking, and if you are buying a primary residence – your hopes are to buy a home that will appreciate or at least maintain your equity. We specialize in working with investors and relocations – our emphasis is on buyer representation and you can be sure that if it isn’t a good deal for you, it isn’t for us because not only do we conduct business in the most ethical manner, we also understand that our future business is dependent from satisfied clients like you.