Why Should Foreign Tax Levys on U.S. Real Estate Be Lifted?

Reform FIRPTA!! It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue and invoke mass demonstrations.

But the Commercial Observer had a story this morning on how real estate heavies--including the Real Estate Board of New York and Brookfield--want the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act repealed or reworked to boost their business.

The 1980 law requires buyers of U.S. real property interests from foreigners to withhold 10% of the amount realized on the disposition to make sure taxes are paid.  Foreign corporations that distribute U.S. real property interests must withhold a tax equal to 35% of the gain they recognize on the shareholder distribution.

Here's the IRS FIRTPA page.

This all adds up to too much in the eyes of business interests.  The article points out that similar withholding requirements aren't placed on the sale of securities.

The article details the August reform proposal introduced in Congress, and the lighter requirements it would substitute.

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