RETT reform on share deals is coming

Parliament approves reform proposal

Relatively surprisingly, the reform of the real estate transfer tax (RETT) for so-called share deals has been implemented during this legislative term. The legislative process had already begun in 2019 but was then stalled without a final agreement. On 04-21-2021, the Bundestag finally approved the reform.

The main change is that a transfer of 90% or more of the shares in real estate holding corporations (i.e., usually limited liability companies in the form of a GmbH or similar foreign companies) triggers real estate transfer tax. This also applies if there are several persons involved on the purchaser's side. A similar regime already applies to partnerships holding real estate.

Furthermore, the thresholds for share transfers for all acquisitions are set at 90% (previously 95%) and the holding periods are extended to 10 years or, in one case, 15 years (previously 5 years).

The new law enters into force on 07-01-2021.

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