Accessing Caymanian stamp duty rates

Preferential rates of stamp duty on real estate purchases by Caymanians, based on Government’s 2006/07 budget, came into effect on 1 July, and procedures have been put in place for individuals applying for the concessions, says a GIS press release.

As provided in the budget, for land purchases generally the preferential rate for Caymanians is four per cent, except in certain areas specified in the stamp duty legislation, which may be ascertained from the Department of Lands and Survey.

For first-time Caymanian homeowners, the new preferential rates are:

zero stamp duty for land and building of market value $200,000 or less, or land alone valued at $50,000 or less.

two per cent stamp duty for land and building of market value more than $200,000 but not exceeding $300,000, or if the land is valued at more than $50,000 but not exceeding $75,000.

These rates are available only to individuals, not corporate or other entities.

Proof of Caymanian status is key to being able to benefit from the preferential duty rates. The public is therefore advised that the following are the documents acceptable as evidence of Caymanian status:

For individuals born in the Cayman Islands prior to 27 March 1977 – evidence of birth in the Cayman Islands, in the form of a certified copy of birth a certificate or a certified copy of the passport page bearing the photograph;

For individuals born in the Cayman Islands on or after 27 March 1977 – evidence of birth in the Cayman Islands, in the form of a certified copy of birth certificate or a certified copy of the passport page bearing the photograph, and evidence that one parent was Caymanian at the time of the person’s birth. This evidence is in the form of a certified copy of the parent’s birth certificate, a certified copy of the passport page bearing the photograph, or a certified copy of certificate of Caymanian Status.

There are some persons born on or after 27 March 1977 who may have a letter issued by the Immigration Department confirming that they possess Caymanian status, and this on its own is sufficient evidence.

For all other persons – a certified copy of the certificate of Caymanian Status is required.

‘As will be appreciated, neither Lands and Survey nor the Portfolio of Finance and Economics is in the business of conferring Caymanian status, so in order for us to administer the preferential rates properly, we must rely on the public to submit acceptable documentary proof,’ Deputy Financial Secretary (Financial Services) Deborah Drummond said in the release. ‘Once that proof is submitted, it simply becomes a ‘tick-the-box’ exercise for us. That will streamline the processing.’

For general property purchases under the four per cent stamp duty regime, individuals should submit the required documentation to the Lands and Survey Department for processing of their transactions.

First-time Caymanian homeowners will continue to be dealt with by the Portfolio of Finance and Economics, and the application forms for this scheme may be obtained, as usual, from the Government Administration Building on Elgin Avenue.

The public is asked to note that, in accordance with the Stamp Duty Law, transfers or other relevant instruments that were executed prior to 1 July, 2006 will be assessed for stamp duty based on the rates prior to that date.

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