4 Things You Need to Know About Stamp Duties When Buying A Home in Trinidad and Tobago!

 

 

Whether you’re buying or selling, the real estate market can be a tricky landscape to navigate. There are many steps to be taken in order to confirm the purchase or sale of property and one false move can have unfortunate consequences. Paying stamp duties is one of those steps that cannot be overlooked; yet so many people are unaware of this form of taxation. Here we highlight 4 things you need to know about stamp duties in Trinidad and Tobago.

 

 

1. What are Stamp Duties?

Stamp duties are a mandatory fee applied to certain legal documents, several of which are required for real estate transactions in Trinidad and Tobago. These documents include Deeds of Mortgage, Deeds of Conveyance of Gift, Release of Mortgage Loan, and Deeds of Lease. Whether you are buying or selling a piece of residential property, you must familiarize yourself with all materials that require stamp duties so you are able to factor these costs into your overall budget and avoid unpleasant surprises after the process has begun.

 

2. How Much Do Stamp Duties Cost?

Stamp Duty fees are calculated as a percentage of the value of the property being bought or sold. Some properties are exempted from these fees, while others are subjected to specific rates as outlined by the Inland Revenue Division of the Ministry of Finance:

 

RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY (INCLUDING DWELLING HOUSE)

The sale or other disposal of residential properties valued at $850,000 or less SHALL BE EXEMPT from stamp duty.

The following rates of stamp duty SHALL BE payable on the sale or other disposal of residential properties (with dwelling house) whose values exceed $850,000:

· For every dollar of the first $400,000 in excess of $850,000 – 3%

· For every dollar of the next $500,000 – 5%

· For every dollar thereafter – 7.5%

 

RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY (LAND ONLY)

The sale or disposal of residential land valued at $450,000 or less shall be EXEMPT from Stamp Duty.

· For every dollar of the first $200,000 in excess of $450,000 – 2%

· For every dollar of the next $200,000 in excess of $650,000 – 5%

· For every dollar thereafter in excess of $850,000 – 7%

 

 

3. Are There Special Exemptions for First Time Homeowners?

A January 2019 amendment to the Residential Stamp Duty threshold states that first time homeowners investing in property valued between $850,000 and $1.5 million will be exempt from stamp duties. In order to qualify for this exemption, all buyers involved in the transaction are required to submit the required documents to prove that they do not own any property in Trinidad and Tobago, or anywhere else in the world.

 

 

4. How Are Stamp Duties Paid?

Typically, your real estate attorney facilitates this process. Your attorney will ensure all relevant documents are prepared and presented appropriately, and they conduct the transaction on your behalf. If, however, you are handling this process yourself, we strongly advise that you have a staff member at the Stamp Duty Office assess your documents before finalizing payment. Once all is well, your stamp duties can be paid via certified cheque, cash or a debit card attached to a TT bank account. Payments are made at the Stamp Duty Section of the Office of Inland Revenue, which is open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm every weekday, except public holidays.

 

 

The Stamp Duty Section

Inland Revenue Division

Ground Floor
Trinidad House
Edward Street
Port of Spain
Trinidad, West Indies
Tel. (868) 623-1211-4

 

South Regional Office

Inland Revenue Division
Cipero Street
San Fernando
Trinidad, West Indies
Tel. (868) 657-5775/6057

 

Tobago Regional Office

Inland Revenue Division
Sangster’s Hill
Scarborough
Tobago, West Indies
Tel. (868) 639-2410/2538

 

 

Knowledge is power and at Propsnoop we take pride in furnishing our clients with all the information they need to plan appropriately, budget smartly, and act swiftly. That being said, whether you have decided to maneuver the process of buying or selling on your own, or with the assistance of a registered real estate agent, we hope this article answers any questions you might have about stamp duty fees.