Source: eKapija+ | Friday, 01.07.2022.| 09:28
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Purchase and Sale of Real Estate When One of the Contracting Parties is a Non-Resident

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Illustration (Photo: George Rudy/shutterstock.com)
The sale and purchase of real estate in which one of the contracting parties is a foreign person, i.e. a non-resident, is regulated, among other regulations, by the Law on Foreign Exchange Operations („Law“).

The Law stipulates that payments for the purpose of acquiring ownership on real estate of residents abroad and non-residents in Serbia are made freely, in accordance with the law governing ownership relations.

Therefore, the Law regulates the purchase and sale of real estate in which one of the contracting parties is a non-resident in two ways, depending on the place where the real estate is located.

Situation when a non-resident purchases or sells the real estate located abroad

If a resident has purchased real estate from a non-resident abroad, the resident is obliged to pay the purchase price to the account of the non-resident abroad from his foreign currency account opened in Serbia, and the international payment order is marked with the payment code: 139 - purchase of real estate abroad, which is provided by the Codebook of the bases for collection, payment and transfer in international payment transactions ("Codebook").

Also, it is possible that the resident owns real estate abroad which he sells to a non-resident, in which case the payment is made in such a way that the non-resident pays from his account opened abroad to the foreign currency account of the resident seller, opened in Serbia. In this case the international payment order is marked with the payment code: 539 - sale of real estate abroad, according to the Codebook.

In addition to this, foreign exchange regulations also provide the possibility for a non-resident to pay the purchase price to the account of a resident opened with a bank abroad. This is regulated by the Decision on the conditions and the manner in which residents may hold foreign currency in an account with a bank abroad ("Official Gazette of RS", No. 31/2012, 71/2013, 98/2013, 125/2014, 102/2015 , 37/2018 and 13/2020), which stipulates that foreign exchange on the account with a bank abroad, if in a specific case they have received approval from the National Bank of Serbia ("NBS"), may be held by residents - owners of real estate abroad for sale of this real estate, up to the amount of the value of the real estate specified in the purchase/sale agreement.

We hereby note that in this case, after the sale of real estate abroad and payment of the amount of the real estate value to an account opened with a foreign bank, the resident is obliged to bring the remaining funds into the Republic of Serbia within the next 30 days and close that account.

Illustration
Illustration (Photo: canadastock/shutterstock.com)
Situation when a non-resident purchases or sells the real estate located in Serbia

If a non-resident purchased real estate from a resident located in Serbia, a non-resident can make a payment for the purchase of that real estate from his account opened abroad, and according to the Codebook, the payment order is marked with the payment code: 138 - purchase of real estate in the Republic.

The opposite situation is also possible, i.e., that the non-resident previously acquired the real estate located in Serbia, which he is now selling to the resident, the buyer of the real estate. In that case, the resident buyer can make the payment to the account of the non-resident opened in Serbia, after which the non-resident can transfer the collected funds to his account abroad, showing to the bank that all tax obligations on this transaction have been settled.

Also, we hereby note that the Ministry of Finance, concerning this topic of (non)obligation of a non-resident to open an account in Serbia when selling real estate in Serbia, provided the opinion that payment of the purchase amount can be made from the account of a resident opened in Serbia, directly to the seller non-resident to his account abroad, but only if the tax liabilities from that business towards Serbia have been previously settled.

For more information about this subject, you may contact Milosevic Law Firm.

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