The Maltese Islands, consisting of Malta, Gozo and Comino, cover an area of about 320 square kilometres and have a population of about 400,000. The islands are located in the centre of the Mediterranean just south of Sicily.
Malta has a rich European historic and cultural heritage. This is reflected in its Catholic religion dating from the time of St. Paul, its architecture, and in all major aspects of business, government and social activities. The British and Italian influences are particularly strong, given the country’s proximity to Italy and the fact that Malta formed part of the British Empire from 1801 to 1964. Malta is today an Independent Republic within the Commonwealth and became a full member of the EU on 1 May 2004. As from 1 January 2008, the unit of local currency is the Euro (€).
English is, with Maltese, an official language and is spoken by practically everyone. Laws are published in English and Maltese, and business correspondence is usually conducted in English.
A number of real estate projects currently exist, aimed at providing qualitative properties to foreigners wishing to invest in Malta.
Malta’s full imputation system of taxation may be utilized efficiently by entrepreneurs who wish to invest in non-Maltese real estate through a Maltese holding company.
Acquiring real estate in Malta
The acquisition of real estate in Malta is carried out by means of a public deed, entered into in front of a notary public. Stamp duty and any legal expenses are paid upon the signing of the contract when the purchaser acquires real estate.
The standard rate of stamp duty is 5% (5 Euro for every 100 Euro or part thereof) of the amount or value of the consideration paid for the real estate, whichever is the higher. However, in the case of persons who acquire real estate as their sole ordinary residence, stamp duty is reduced to 3.5% on the first €117,000 of the consideration paid for the acquisition of the real estate.
Non-EU citizens may only acquire real estate in Malta after a permit is issued by the Ministry of Finance.
Maltese and EU citizens who have resided continuously in Malta for a minimum period of 5 years can acquire more than one real estate without the necessity of obtaining a permit. Furthermore, Maltese and EU citizens who have not resided in Malta for a continuous period of five years, have no restrictions as regards the acquisition of their primary residence, however they would require a permit in order to acquire real estate as a secondary residence.
Non-EU citizens can freely acquire more than one real estate located in Special Designated Areas, without requiring any form of permit.
The permit is granted by the Minister of Finance by making an application. All the above information concerning permits can be summarised in the following table:
There are no limitations or permit requirements when heirs, whatever their citizenship, inherit real estate in Malta from a person – whatever citizenship the deceased has – as long as the real estate was acquired legally in the first place.
Acquisition of real estate by Companies
Subject to conditions, a company operating from an EU member state may freely acquire real estate that is required for the purpose of carrying out the activity for which the company has been set up.
Non-resident companies (principally non-EU companies) require a permit, which the Minister must grant if the real estate is required for an industrial or touristic project or as a contributor to the development of the economy of Malta.
Information provided by 77 Great Estates