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Beware of transfer duty on deposits forfeited in property transactions

  • South Africa
  • Real estate
  • Shipping
  • Real estate sector


Buyers of immovable property must think very carefully before paying deposits. If for some reason the sale is cancelled, the purchaser remains liable for transfer duty on the deposit that is forfeited to the seller (in terms of section 5(2)(a) of the Transfer Duty Act). In the event that the transfer duty is not paid to SARS by the purchaser, the seller will be required to pay such transfer duty to SARS upon the subsequent disposal of the property by the seller. The seller may thereafter recover the duty so paid from the purchaser that was originally liable to pay the transfer duty on the cancellation of the sale.

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