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A one-off 7.5% stamp duty is payable on all real estate purchases and transfers. This duty is paid by the buyer of the property on the purchase price or market value – whichever one is higher, as determined by the Lands and Survey Department.
Stamp duty is waved, provided you are a first-time Caymanian buyer, the property price is below CI$300,000, and it will be owner occupied. A stamp duty of 2% is payable if the property is over CI$300,000 and below CI$400,000.
In 2021, the government changed the approach to assessing Stamp Duty on pre-construction properties. Up to then, the duty was calculated on the published developer’s price at completion. (Note the law has not changed, just its interpretation.) Stamp duty has always been charged on the purchase price or on the market value, whichever is higher, as assessed by the Lands and Survey Department. As real estate prices have increased, is it very likely that a pre-construction property with a purchase agreement signed one or more years prior to completion, will be assessed by officials to be worth more than the agreed purchase price. An alternative to the unknown appreciation costs is to pre-pay the 7.5% Stamp Duty, but in that case, purchasers run the risk of the development not going ahead, and although stamp duty fees on a signed purchase agreement can be refunded, the money can only be returned after a request has been placed with the Minister in charge of Lands & Survey.
For more detailed information on fees and administration associated with real estate transfers and purchases, visit www.caymanresident.com or www.caymanlandinfo.ky .
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