Stamp duty is a transfer tax applicable on most real estate transactions in the Turks and Caicos. Stamp duty also refers to some other taxes, such as taxes on rental vehicles, but most usage of the term refers to simply the real estate transfer tax.
As the Turks and Caicos uses a land registry (as opposed to a deed-style as in the United States), all land sales are recorded with the Government. Access to the registered owner is public (upon payment of a fee), however, the purchase price is not.
Stamp duty must be paid within 30 days of execution of the transfer.
Stamp Duty Rates
It's important to note that the tax band applies to the whole value, not the difference between bands. For example, a purchase on Providenciales of value $245,000 incurs stamp duty of $15,925 (6.5%), whereas a purchase for $255,000 incurs a stamp duty of $20,400 (8%).
|Stamp Duty Rates by Value and Island|
|Under $25,000||All Islands||0%|
|$25,000 - $100,000||Grand Turk, North Caicos, Middle Caicos, South Caicos, Salt Cay||5%|
|More than $100,000||Grand Turk, North Caicos, Middle Caicos, South Caicos, Salt Cay||6.5%|
|$25,000 - $250,000||Everywhere else (including Providenciales)||6.5%|
|$250,000 - $500,000||Everywhere else (including Providenciales)||8%|
|More than 500,000||Everywhere else (including Providenciales)||10%|
Reduced Rates and Waivers
Some people holding Turks and Caicos Islander Status, or persons who are British Overseas Territory Citizens, can qualify for a reduction or waiver of payable stamp duty. Generally, this is a waiver of a certain amount, and may only apply to their first purchase of a residential home that they intend to reside in.
Furniture and Appliances
It’s important to note that stamp duty isn't applied to the chattels (furniture and appliances) when purchasing a property. As such, the taxable value for stamp duty can sometimes be a little lower than the purchase price.
As noted above, real estate sales for under $25,000 are exempt from stamp duty.
Gift transfers (or in trust) to a person's spouse, parent, or child are exempt.
Gift transfers to a person's brother, sister, grandparent, or grandchild are exempt, provided that the Permanent Secretary of Finance is confident the transfer is without valuable consideration.
Beneficial Ownership and Land Holding Companies
Stamp duty is payable when the beneficial owner changes, not necessarily when the registered owner changes.
In the past, it was common to set up a corporation (A) that owned a parcel of land (L), and then another corporation (B) that owned the first corporation (A). In this example, B owns A which owns L. To sell the land, corporation (B) would be sold, and the payment of stamp duty was skirted, as the ownership of the land (L) was still held by (A).
The law was changed, and stamp duty is now payable on beneficial ownership change.
Corporations and Complex Structures
In corporate structures where there are multiple shareholders, and shareholders change, the law provides a complex formula for determining the amount of stamp duty payable.