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Refugee Tax on property sales in Cyprus, what is it and who pays it?

Date: 05/07/23

The introduction of the "Refugee Tax" in Cyprus caused considerable confusion and controversy.

This tax, officially known as the Equal Distribution of Burdens tax, is applicable to all sales and transfers of immovable property and is calculated at a rate of 0.4% of the sale price. Although the original Bill was passed in February 2021, it was not enforceable until October 27th, 2022. The sudden implementation of this tax at the end of 2022 resulted in many ongoing property sales being sent back to the tax department and causing significant transaction delays.

Contrary to what some may assume, the "Refugee Tax" is not intended to support sub-Saharan Africans who arrived in Cyprus through Turkey and the occupied areas. Its purpose is to provide assistance to Greek Cypriot refugees who were displaced during the Turkish invasion in 1974. The number of individuals in this refugee group has not decreased over the years but has actually grown substantially. According to the law, any male descendant of an original male refugee is also recognized as a refugee by the Cypriot government and is entitled to financial assistance when purchasing a home. This broad eligibility criteria has resulted in an expansion of the eligible group and its associated financial implications. It may seem farcical that someone born outside Cyprus, who has never even been to Cyprus, can claim refugee status, but this is the reality.

In simple terms, if you decide to sell a property in Cyprus, you should be prepared to contribute 0.4% of the sale price to the Refugee fund.

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