Dominican Republic Real Estate:
Title Insurance - Title Transfer Taxes - Property Taxes

The Dominican Republic has been called the best kept real estate and investment secret in the entire Caribbean for American Tourists.  The fact of the matter is, Amercians make up less than 15% of tourism statistics, but European travelers have already known for many years what a great travel and real estate bargain the Dominican Republic offers. The recent July 1999 Center of Stragic and International Studies report says that the Dominican Republic is now one of the fastest growing economies in the Western Hemisphere.  Any one contemplating relocation to the Caribbean, retirement or vacation property, general real estate investments or tax free banking opportunities - needs to place the Dominican Republic at the top of the list.
Dominican Republic Real Estate
Property and Home Bargains
Information About Title Transfer & Property Taxes
Articles about Living in the Dominican Republic
Finding Apartment or Property Bargains    ~    The Best Neighborhoods to Look
Questions and Answers About:  Title Insurance, Title Transfer, Annual Property Taxes
Living in The Dominican Republic:  What is it Really Like?
Moving or Retiring to the Dominican Republic:  Why this is your # 1 Choice !
Dominican Republic Real Estate: 
Apartments & Condominiums    ~  Homes and Land    ~    Beach Front Communities
Title Insurance, Transfer Tax, Real Estate Taxes 
in The Dominican Republic
The # 1 piece of mis-information circulated by unscrupulous real estate agents in the Dominican Republic concerns real estate taxes.  Many will tell you that there are no property or real estate taxes in the Dominican Republic.  This is completely FALSE.  Granted, the real estate taxes are a bargain in comparison to some other places, but there are indeed local tax assessments on property.  

Why this mis-information or confusion? It could be one of two things.  The first possibility is that the real estate agent knows better, and is straight out telling you a lie in order to induce you to make a purchase.  The second possibility is that the agent does not know any better, and if so, is highly unprofessional to say the least.  To be fair, most Dominicans do not even have the slightest clue about their own tax system.  Many Dominicans living in the United States may in fact tell you the same thing that the real estate broker has told you.  Why is that?  The reason is that the majority of Dominicans either do not pay annual property taxes, or are exempt due to the assesed value of the property.

The annual property tax system in the Dominican Republic is in fact a sort of "hidden" wealth tax.  The meaning is, that higher property taxes kick in at a certain value level.  For this reason, it is possible than Dominicans living in New York or Miami, have homes, or know of family members that have homes, whereby they have never paid a dime in annual property tax.  This does not mean that they do not have a tax liability on the property.   They just assume so because the government has never asked for payment.

Let us discuss this further, because this lack of understanding stems from a few sources:

Fact # 1 - The Dominican government tax authority is somewhat disorganized.  It is getting much more organized, and the "status quo" from the past will not continue going forward.  It will take some time to see this happen, but investors buying property today, may find a very different government system 10 years from now.  That is why investors need to know the truth and how they could be effected.  Like with many other topics, if you ask three different people or officials about tax rates, you will get three different answers.  This is a problem to say the least.  Who do you believe?
One easy answer is: GET IT IN WRITING.  If official # 1 or your local Real Estate Broker says you will not have to pay property taxes, ask for it on paper and file the letter with your title.   My guess is you will witness what I like to call the "seated merengue" when asking for this, but ask for it anyway.    

Fact # 2 - The government has neither the man power or an effective system for enforcement of property tax collection.  This is another reason why many Dominicans hold the opinion that there is no property taxes on real estate.
In contrast to the US system, chances are that you will never recieve a property tax bill or notice in the mail.   In addition, tax sale of property by the government is unheard of.  I have never seen or heard of anyone being evicted by authorities in order to complete a tax sale of property.   Again, this only strenthens the believe that there is no property tax , or that the government does not care about property tax collection.

Fact # 3 - The property tax rates can often differ greatly by neighborhood or zone.  Both property tax rate schedules, and utility rate schedules for that matter, tend to be higher in the so-called "wealthy neighborhoods".  This is not a fair system, but it is the system none the less.  With so many different tax rate schedules, exemptions, and mutlitude of tax codes that often seem to contradict each other,  it can be difficult at times to keep an accurate listing.

Title Transfer Tax

Regardless of where you purhcase property, the one thing you can be sure of of is the tax you will pay to transfer title into your name.  For the sake of brevity, you can figure on a total cost of  7.48% (of the transaction value), in order to complete the title registration process.  This is not the actual figure, but is rather a sum of the other various costs or taxes involved.  Note that this is tax payment, and does not include attorney fees.  

Is there any way to save of the title transfer tax? The answer is YES.  We highly advocate the use of a Dominican Incorporated Company in order to provide the investor with a vehicle for both asset protection and tax savings.  Many clients have saved up to $2,000 or more on transaction costs simply by making a Dominican Company the owner of their real estate purchase.  In addition, this strategy helps save on capital gains taxes, when the property is sold later on.

About Title Insurance

Many Investors ask us about title insurance.  There is no such thing as title insurance in many countries, and the Dominican Republic is no exception.
For this reason, the use of a trust worthy attorney and a complete title search is of the upmost importance.

Some people have heard stories about problems with titles in the Dominican Republic.  The truth is, like many Latin American countries, investors must make sure that they are obtaining a very clear and very legal title.  Most of the problems that investors have experienced usually happened when a purchase of very old property or when property in the country side was the item being considered.  Titles of new construction or newer properties usually do not pose such a problem.  Regardless,  investors are encouraged to retain the services of an honest and competent attorney for assistance with their real estate transaction.

For additional information about real estate, formation of a Dominican Incorporated Company, offshore & tax-free banking or residency, please contact: 

Ascot Advisory Services
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Telephone 809-334-5387