Karanovic & Nikolic in cooperation with local lawyers
Regarding the relevant legal framework in Bosnia and Herzegovina (“BiH”), we emphasize that BIH consists of two entities:
- Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (“FBiH”) and
- Republika Srpska (“RS”), and Brčko District (“BD”), which is a separate autonomous unit.
Each of the aforementioned has its own sets of laws regulating the matters pertaining to real estate. Where the subject matter is regulated identically in material aspects in both entities and BD, we have given unified answers, and material differences in regulation have been emphasized (as applicable in FBiH/ RS/BD respectively).
Can anyone (including foreigners) own and occupy real estate in your jurisdiction (including shares in property owning companies)? Are there any restrictions?
Foreigners may acquire and own properties subject to reciprocity between BIH and the country of their origin, with exception of the arable land and the real estate located in protected areas of nature, as defined by special laws. Foreigners can own shares in property owning companies without restrictions.
Are there restrictions on lending for the purchase of real estate by foreign companies? If so briefly give an outline?
There are no restrictions on lending for the purchase of real estate by foreign companies, but loan transactions with foreign entities are subject to registration to the competent Ministry of Finance.
Please provide a short summary of the fees and costs (including tax) relating to buying real estate in your jurisdiction.
Transfer of real estate is subject to the real estate transfer tax at the flat rate of 5% for FBiH.
The notarial fees for the real estate purchase agreement, depend on the purchase price, but may not exceed the amount of BAM 1,250 (approx. EUR 650) in RS and BAM 2,000 (approx. EUR 1,600) in FBiH.
The fee for registration of ownership amounts of approx. BAM 80 (approx. EUR 40).
Are there taxes applicable to owning real estate and can the burden of the taxes be passed to someone else (e.g. a tenant or an occupier - not being the owner)?
In FBIH, owners are required to pay the property tax as a lump sum in the amount depending on the surface of the premises. There is no possibility to pass the tax burden to other parties.
In RS and BD, the real estate tax is paid annually at the rate of 0,10% - 0,20% (RS) and 0,05% - 1,0% (BD). Same as in BIH, in RS and BD the taxpayer of the real estate tax is the owner of the real estate and the burden of the taxes cannot be passed to someone else. Theoretically, if the owner of the real estate cannot be determined or found, the taxpayer is a person who, on any ground, uses or occupies the real estate. The tax base is the estimated value of the real estate, determined by the competent tax authority.
Are there tax breaks or other incentives for foreigners to buy real estate in your jurisdiction? If so what are they?
There are no tax breaks or other incentives for foreigners to buy real estate in BiH.
How is the ownership of Real Estate evidenced in your jurisdiction?
Ownership over real estate is acquired upon registration of the ownership in the relevant land registry.
Is it possible to keep the identity of owners of real estate confidential in your jurisdiction?
No, it is not possible to keep the identity of onwers of real estate confidential, since the land registry is a public registry to which any interested party may access.