The reform of the Flemish stamp duties
In its September statement, the Flemish government announced a significant
reduction in stamp duties, at least for the purchase of the first home. This
reduction is immediately compensated by an increase in other situations. An
As from 1 January 2022, stamp duties will be due at only 3% (instead of the
current 6%) for those who purchase a sole owner-occupied home in full ownership
in the Flemish region. The stamp duties on the transfer of real estate depends
on the region where the real estate is located. Residents of other regions or
even other countries, who can demonstrate that they meet the conditions, can
benefit from this reduced rate.
In the first instance, it must be your only home.
If you already own another
house or even a building plot, you cannot benefit from the reduced rate, unless
you engage to sell that other house or the building plot within a certain period
of time after the notarial deed has been passed. That period is 2 years. If you
do not engage to do so, you will pay the standard rate. If afterwards it turns
out that you have sold the other real estate in due time, you can still apply
for the reduced rate.
Even if an expropriation is imminent and you
demonstrate that you are buying a home because the other home has been or will
be expropriated, you can benefit from the reduced rate for the sole
It should also concern a house, which means that the building is used to house a
family or a person: building plots are therefore excluded.
You must also purchase the house in your own name. A purchase through a company
is excluded. Conversely, owning real estate through a company does not prevent
the application of the reduced rate (unless the tax authorities can demonstrate
that you have explicitly set up a construction for this).
Finally, you must occupy the house within three years of the purchase.
If you applied for the reduced rate and, in retrospect, you have not complied
with the conditions, the standard stamp duties, plus a 20% penalty, will be due.
It can be even better
If you engage into a major energy renovation of the home when you purchase it,
you can even benefit from a rate of only 1%. Currently, there is a lower rate
for energy renovation, but that is still 5%.
The conditions for that reduced rate remain the same as before: you get 5 years
to obtain a qualifying energy performance certificate and you also get 5 years
to move into the house. Please also note: this rate of 1% only applies to the
sole owner-occupied home.
However, there is a first flip side to the coin: if you buy a house for a price
under 200.000€ (in certain cities under 220.000€), you currently receive a
discount of 5.600€ (or 4.800€ if you obtained the reduced rate for energy
renovation). But those discounts for modest homes will be reduced to 2.800€ and
960€ respectively on 1 January 2022, even though the limits are raised to
220.000€ and 240.000€ respectively.
If it does not concern the only owner-occupied home that you will occupy
yourself, the stamp duties will increase as from 1 January 2022, from 10% to
12%. This should reduce the pressure that investors place on the real estate
market, and more specifically on the housing market. After all, they have to pay
an additional 9% tax, compared to people who want to buy the same home as a sole
Seemingly, but from the available information it cannot yet be concluded with
certainty, the rate increase from 10% to 12% would not only relate to
residential properties. This would mean that companies that do not buy a home,
but a commercial or logistics building or office building, will also have to pay
an additional 2% tax.
The Flemish Region currently has a system of 'portability' of stamp duties. If
you buy a home and later sell that home to buy or build another home, you set
off the stamp duties you paid on the first purchase against the stamp duties on
the second purchase. The initial stamp duties can even be refunded.
limitation: the amount of the portable stamp duties is limited to 13.000€.
However, this portability will disappear in 2024. You can therefore still use it
until 31 December 2023.
Additionally, the reduced rates of 3% or 1% can no longer be combined with
portability. After 1 January 2022 and until 31 December 2023, you will therefore
have to choose between the 3% rate (possibly 1%) without portability on the one
hand, or the 6% rate (possibly 5%) with the option of portability of the stamp
Anyone who has to pay 12% (now 10%) stamp duties can also benefit from the
portability of these stamp duties. Up to 31 December 2023. Afterwards, that will
Anyone who buys an existing home makes a profit without a doubt. On the other
hand, anyone who buys a building plot, or who buys a new building (with VAT)
loses under this new regime. After all, from 1 January 2022, the stamp duties on
the building plots will also increase from 10% to 12%.
As from 1 January 2022
The rate reduction applies to transfers for which the authentic deed is passed
after 1 January 2022.
Anyone who wants to buy a first home will therefore tend to postpone the
authentic deed until next year. Note, however, that if a promise has been made,
the agreement must be registered within four months. And revising an existing
sales agreement to postpone the notarial deed to the next year is considered
abusive and can be ignored or even sanctioned by the tax authorities.
The rate increase, on the other hand, applies to transfers for which the
purchase agreement a promise is concluded as from 1 January 2022. Anyone who
wants to invest in a second home should therefore not have the authentic deed
passed quickly. If the promise was made in 2021, the 10% rate will still