Calculation C.G.T.

Insights into what is involved in buying, selling & living in Portugal

Gapital gains tax

This is an article explaining the capital gains tax consequences of selling property that is in an offshore company.

  1. The Situation

  2. Options one and two

  3. Option three and the conclusion

MANY OWNERS of offshore companies, both black and white listed, reach the point where, for any number of reasons, they wish to sell up.

Yet most are uncertain of the capital gains tax consequences of such a sale, particularly since there are a number of different ways to structure the transaction.

While individual proceedings sometimes present unique circumstances, the following example should prove illustrative of most sales. Respective costs and savings ought to be proportional in most cases.

The situation:

Non resident owners selling a property in an offshore company:

  1. In 1992, an offshore company purchases a property in Portugal for 200,000 euros (inflation-adjusted price in 2007). Therefore, both the property and the company are worth 200,000 euros at this point.

  2. In 1999, a non resident couple buys the shares of the company for 300,000 euros. While the company now has a share value of 300,000 euros, the book value of the Property remains 200,000 euros.

  3. In 2003, the company moves its headquarters and effective management (re-domiciliation) from Gibraltar to Delaware. No change in respective values is registered.

  4. In 2007, the owners wish to sell the property/company for 550,000 euros. This can be realised by one of three ways:

    • the company sells the property directly to the buyers;

    • the owners of the Delaware company sell their shares to the buyers or;

    • the Delaware Company is first moved to Portugal, then owners of the Portuguese nominee company sell their shares to the buyers.

  5. Situation

  6. Options one and two

  7. Options three and the conclusion

Tax consequences for buyer and seller

a) The company sells its property

The capital gain on the sale of the property is the net difference between purchase cost (200,000 euros) and sales price (550,000 euros) minus capital improvements in the last five years minus deductible buying and selling costs. This net gain is then taxed at the rate of 25 per cent.

The final result might look something like this:

550,000 euros (sale) – 200,000 euros (purchase) – 15,000 euros (improvements) – 5,000 euros (expenses) = 230,000 euros (net gain) X 25 per cent (non-resident tax rate on sale of property) = 57,500 euros (capital gains tax).

The buyer will also pay the following acquisition taxes of 33,000 euros (municipal tax) + 4,400 euros (stamp duty) = 37,400 euros (total acquisition taxes).

Since it is a Delaware company that is selling the property, then the taxable gain will be to the company. However, it is more than likely that the distribution of these profits to the shareholders will also incur an assessment to owners in the home jurisdiction on these “dividends”.

b) Sale of the shares of the Delaware company

The shares of the Delaware company are sold to the buyer. In accordance with the US-Portugal Tax Treaty (Article 14), this is treated as a sale of property

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