If you want to sell your property, you may have to pay speculation tax. Under certain conditions, however, this does not apply – even if the property was rented.
Frankfurt – For many people, owning their own four walls is a dream. For some, it is the classic retirement provision, so that no rent has to be paid in retirement. Others, on the other hand, want to sell their house or condominium sooner or later. If a profit is made on the sale of the property, it must be taxed. In this case, the speculation tax is due, which is always based on the individual tax rate. However, the tax is not due in every case. It can be saved even if the house was rented.
Speculation tax when selling a house: When the property is considered owner-occupied
This is because the sale of a property can be tax-free. Either if the sale takes place more than ten years after the acquisition. Or if the property has been used for own residential purposes at least in the last two years before the sale. Even shared use by another person, such as a partner or a spouse, does not prevent self-use, says Daniela Karbe-Geßler from the Taxpayers' Association.
If you want to sell your property, you may have to pay speculation tax. Under certain conditions, however, this does not apply – even if the property was rented. © Bernd Settnik/dpa/Archive
Self-use also exists if the dwelling is left free of charge to dependent children who live alone in the household and are entitled to child benefit. However, the situation is different if the apartment is left to third parties – whether for a fee or free of charge. This is confirmed by a ruling by the Düsseldorf Finance Court (Az.: 14 K 1525/19 E,F).
Speculation tax on the sale of a property: leaving the apartment to the wife's mother free of charge
In the specific case, a couple acquired a condominium in 2009 and left it to the wife's mother free of charge. In 2016, the couple sold the condominium, the tax office taxed the profit from the sale. The couple appealed against this on the ground that a differentiation between dependent children and other persons entitled to civil maintenance was contradictory. In addition, the wife's numerous visits to her mother were to be regarded as the use of the property for her own residential purposes.
The Tax Court dismissed the action. There was no use for own residential purposes. The couple had not used the apartment themselves, mere stays for visiting purposes were not sufficient. The use by the mother could not be attributed to the couple.
But, be careful when selling the property: Currently, the prices for houses in Germany are falling. Large cities are also affected – with one exception. (jon/dpa)