Can anyone (including foreigners) own and occupy real estate in your jurisdiction (including shares in property owning companies)? Are there any restrictions?
There are no restrictions preventing companies or individuals from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland from acquiring a real estate or shares in a company being an owner or a perpetual usufructuary of a real estate in Poland. With some exceptions, entities from outside the EEA or Switzerland are obliged to obtain a permit of the Minister of Internal Affairs for such transaction.
There are some limitations as to the acquisition of a real estate in Poland (e.g. a pre-emption right of agricultural or forest lands) applicable both to foreigners and Polish entities.
Are there restrictions on lending for the purchase of real estate by foreign companies? If so briefly give an outline?
From legal perspective there are no special restrictions as regards lending for the purchase of real estate by foreign companies save for restrictions decided by the EU with respect to individuals, organisations and governments that are subject to financial sanctions.
However, every bank has its own policy and risk management procedures which may lead to certain restrictions (bank’s KYC checks). Generally, the purchaser must prove to the bank that it is creditworthy and provide a collateral. In addition, banks are required to apply certain procedures, in particular anti-money laundering or anti-terrorist procedures, especially in case of foreign companies from non-EU countries.
Please provide a short summary of the fees and costs (including tax) relating to buying real estate in your jurisdiction.
The notarial fees are subject to statutory tariffs and depends on the transaction value. The maximum net fee for one deed is approx. PLN 16.770, i.e. approx. EUR 4.000 (plus VAT at the rate of 23%). Registration fees are fixed fees of between PLN 100 (EUR 20) and 200 (EUR 40).
Transfer of real estate is subject to either VAT or tax on civil law transactions (PCC). With some exceptions, VAT at the rate of 23% applies in case of transactions between business entities. VAT exemption (either obligatory or an option) may apply. If the sale of real estate or shares in a company owing real estate is subject to PCC, the rate is 1% or 2%.
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)?
Land and buildings are subject to real estate tax. The tax is payable by owners, perpetual usufructuaries or tenants of public properties. The tax is based on surface area of land or on useable area of buildings.
Perpetual usufructuaries are also obliged to pay the annual perpetual usufruct fee calculated on the basis of a rate applicable to the land and the value of the land (the rate is between 1 and 3% depending on the land designation).
The real estate tax or the perpetual usufruct fee can be fully passed on to any contractual occupier if agreed.
Are there tax breaks or other incentives for foreigners to buy real estate in your jurisdiction? If so what are they?
There are no particular tax breaks or other incentives for foreigners to buy real estate in Poland. However, there are possibilities to mitigate the taxation by using tax-efficient structures.
How is the ownership of Real Estate evidenced in your jurisdiction?
There are two main public registers in Poland: the land and mortgage register and the land and building register. The land and mortgage register serves to determine the legal state of a real property. It is maintained by common courts and is divided into four sections: I – physical description of the property and the rights benefiting the property, II – ownership or perpetual usufruct, III – encumbrances other than mortgages or restrictions in disposals, IV – mortgages.
The land and building register is maintained by administrative authorities and includes descriptive data of the land and buildings. To this extent, it constitutes a basis for entries into the land and mortgage register.
Is it possible to keep the identity of owners of real estate confidential in your jurisdiction?
Land and mortgage register is publicly available via online access. The identity of the owner (individuals as well as companies) is also disclosed in the land and mortgage register. However, records can only be searched by the registry number of the property, which in practice significantly limits review of records.
As regards the land and building register, the identity of owners is kept confidential to a certain extent: the land and building register is not publicly available for inspection by anyone, but access thereto requires a justified legal interest or the owner’s consent.