In the Dominican Republic it is highly recommended to buy property under a corporation, either Dominican or Foreign. Foreign corporations must be registered in the Dominican Republic. The advantages and disadvantages of buying real estate through and off shore holding company will vary on a case by case basis. Below you will find the main advantages and disadvantages of buying through an off shore holding company.
Asset Protection – Your personal liabilities, both in the Dominican Republic as in your country of origin or residence, will not affect the property held by the corporation. Protected from personal civil lawsuits.
Distribution of Ownership – Can be done among various partners as determined by the shareholders.
Easier Procedure for Resale – You would only have to sell the shares of the company. It permits a simple and quick resale of the property. Real Estate Transfer tax becomes null and void since only the shares of the holding corporation change ownership. Ownereship of the property stays within the company.
Title Insurance – If available with the property, the benefit stays with the company.
In Case of Death – it simplifies the handling of the estate and the transfer of control to the heirs. Under Dominican law, inheritance of real property is governed by local statute which establishes that part of the estate must go to certain heirs by law (for example, a foreigner with a legitimate child must reserve 50% of the estate to that child irrespective of the existence of a will or of the law of his country of residence). This rule does not apply when ownership of real estate is held by a corporation. No inheritance tax is payable. Also, if the title is in the name of one or several individuals and one of them dies, the procedure to change the title to the heirs is cumbersome and time-consuming, much easier when done through a corporation.
Capital Gains Taxes – A real draw for investing in the Dominican Republic is the tax structure. Most foreign investors are unaware of the recent capital gains tax imposed. Because most governments access these taxes when a property changes hands, a completely legal strategy has been put in place to circumvent the capital gains and property title taxes, an approach many wealthy Dominicans have been using for years. The solution is a simple one: the new buyers doesn’t take possession of the property. Control is transfered via stock ownership and/or the directorship of a company that happens to own the property. Thus eliminating a taxable real estate transaction.
Recent Tax Reform – Corporations are obliged to pay an annual rate of 1% over the value of their assets and are not favored by the exemption of RD$5 million Dominican Pesos (+/- US$150,000) of the Real Estate Property Tax (IPI) that favors private ownership of a single property.
Annual Sworn Declarations – Corporation must be updated annually. Presentation of financial statements and Sworn Declarations before the DGII, as well as the carrying out of general shareholders’ meetings, all of which generate expense.