Anyone may purchase land in the Turks and Caicos Islands(TCI), save, if the purchaser wishes to hold property through a company, the company must be a TCI company. Foreign companies are unable to directly purchase property in the TCI.
However, there are no restrictions on a foreign company holding the shares of a TCI company that owns property in the TCI. There is no restriction on a non-TCI citizen or non-TCI resident owning land the TCI or holding the shares of a TCI company, which owns property.
The TCI’s Registered Land System
Land in the TCI is registered under the Registered Land Ordinance the statute/law governing the ownership of land in the TCI. Purchaser’s may therefore rely on the Register (which is maintained at the Land Registry in Grand Turk). To investigate prior title, purchasers may rely on the entries on the Register to show, the owner of the property and any incumbrances on the property. The TCI registered land system is largely similar to the ownership of registered land in England & Wales. It is well maintained and governed by the TCI legal system which is largely based on English statutes and common law. A purchaser may be fully protected by the legal framework in place within the TCI.
Stamp duty payable in the TCI
In the TCI purchasers will have to pay stamp duty, to the TCI Government on the purchase of property.
In Providenciales, West Caicos and Parrot, Pine and Ambergris Cay the stamp duty payable is at the rate:
- 6.5% = between $25k and $250k
- 8% = between $250k and $500k
- 10% = over $500k
In North, Middle & South Caicos and Grand Turk & Salt Cay the stamp duty payable is at the rate:
- 5% = between $25k and $100k
- 6.5% = over $100k
Property held in the names of the Purchaser Directly
Property may be held in purchaser’s name and his/her partner’s names (or in the purchaser/s children/s names either as Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common.
Under a “Joint Tenancy” property automatically passes to the surviving Joint Tenant on the death of one of the owners. Each of the Joint Tenants own the entirety of the property and on the death of one of the Joint Tenants there is no need for probate.
Alternatively, if property is held under a “Tenancy in Common”, on the death of one of the Tenants in Common the deceased’s share of the property passes to his estate and is distributed in accordance with his/her will (or under intestacy rules). Married couples tend to own property as Joint Tenants.
Written by Neale Coleman
Neale Coleman is an experienced commercial litigator and real estate attorney in Turks and Caicos who practices in the area of real estate, tourism and resorts working on commercial developments and residential property transactions of a diverse nature.