Search MLS properties in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach counties. We offer comprehensive market statistics for every house, city, local community including school information, relocation package, maps, full resources for home buyer and seller.Full details on available real estate! South Floirda MLS service - best resources for the home buyer and seller.
Resources for the home buyer and seller in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach
Back to Home  Contact  Send to Print  Site Map  
Access USA Realty
For Buyers
Relocation Package
Service Request
First Time Buyers
Retirement or 55+
Investor Request
Foreign Investors
Lease To Own
Useful Links

For Sellers
FREE market analysis
Service Request
Useful Links

For our Clients
See Personal Page
Our Staff Login

About Us
About Us
Contact Information
What is Equal Housing Opportunity sign?
Add your URL
Agency Disclosure
Privacy Policy
Our Partners Links
Contact Webmaster

Bobby WorldWide Approved 508

Foreign Buyer & Seller Tips

Important Changes to FIRTPA!

All property sales by foreign nationals are subject to a 10% withholding at closing unless the seller and the Realtor have planned for this problem. We at Access USA Realty recommend that all foreign nationals who are buying or selling property in the USA consult with US tax experts. We can provide you with a list of registered tax experts who can assist you.

A little planning can save thousands of dollars, prevent delays and ensure that your closing goes smoothly.

DATE : NOVEMBER 12, 2003

On August 4, 2003, the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) issued final regulations, which require changes in closing procedures for real estate transactions involving foreign Sellers. When you learn that the Seller (simply by virtue of being a nonresident) is or may be subject to the provisions of the Foreign Investment In Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (“FIRPTA”), WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE OUR CLIENTS TO RETAIN THE SERVICES OF A CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT OR TAX ATTORNEY TO REVIEW AND DISCUSS THE APPLICATION AND POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES OF FIRPTA TO THEIR PARTICULAR SITUATION.


Sale of a U.S. Real Property Interest (“USRPI”) by a foreign person is subject to FIRPTA. Congress passed FIRPTA to “level the playing field” so that foreigners would not profit handsomely and free of tax on U.S. real estate investments while their counterparts, U.S. citizens and residents, suffered the full brunt of the tax laws.

A USRPI is broadly defined to include any direct or indirect right to receive gain in value of U.S. real estate. Tangible property sold with the real property is also considered a USRPI. Under the provisions of FIRPTA, when a foreign owner sells a USRPI, the Buyer MUST withhold ten percent (10%) of the gross sales price at closing and send the withheld amount to the IRS within twenty (20) days after the closing. Please note that it is the BUYER who is responsible for this withholding tax obligation and who is personally liable for failure to withhold. This is why the closing agent must collect the 10% withholding tax at closing. This issue is non-negotiable – a buyer or closing agent cannot risk assuming this tax obligation if there is no available exception to the withholding requirement!

Non-residents are required to file a return and pay tax on the gain. The gain is the difference between the selling price and the seller's cost basis in the property. The seller's cost basis is the original purchase price plus additional items, including, but not limited to, certain closing costs on the original purchase, commissions and other sale expenses, plus capital improvements to the property. Because the actual gain and corresponding tax is not known at the time of the sale, it was thought that withholding 10% of the sales price would encourage compliance. Sometimes, the 10% amount withheld under FIRPTA will exceed the actual tax on gain that will be due when a return is filed.

For example, if the gross sales price of a single family home is $500,000.00, the closing agent is required to withhold $50,000 and remit this amount to the IRS. Assuming that the actual tax on the gain is less than $50,000, the seller would have to file a return to obtain a refund. If the sale occurred in January of 2003, the seller would have to wait until January 1, 2004 to file a 2003 income tax return and request a refund. To avoid this unpleasant and unnecessary situation and to avoid excess withholding when the required amount exceeds the tax actually due, the Seller may file an application for a withholding certificate with the IRS prior to closing (Form 8288-B). In the application the Seller substantiates to the IRS that the actual tax that will be due when a return is filed is less than the amounts required to be withheld at closing. At the closing, if the Seller provides the Buyer/closing agent with proof that the Seller has applied for a withholding certificate, the Buyer/closing agent is still required to withhold the mandatory 10% of the gross sales price, but these funds can be kept in the trust account of the closing agent pending receipt of the IRS approval or denial of the application.

The IRS is supposed to make its determination within ninety (90) days of its receipt of the application. Of course, if the IRS approves a lesser amount of withholding, then within 20 days, the closing agent will send the lesser amount to the IRS and refund the balance directly to the Seller. This is a very important and advantageous procedure which should be fully considered and utilized by clients, under the guidance of a certified public accountant or tax attorney, if at all possible. It is important to note that this is one of the most important areas of FIRPTA which has been effected by the new regulations as discussed below.


Non-residents have always been required to obtain a taxpayer identification number (“TIN”) before they can file a tax return. This is similar to a social security number, but begins with “9”, and is used to identify the taxpayer. In order to obtain a TIN, a non-resident has to complete an application (Form W-7) and send the application to Philadelphia, PA., along with proof of identification, such as a passport, birth certificate, and/or drivers license. Original or certified copies of these important documents are required, and it takes on average, 90 days for the IRS to assign a TIN and return the original documents.

In the past, it was not necessary to have a TIN to submit an application for reduced withholding. Under the new regulations, a foreign person is required to provide a TIN at the time of filing any return or statement, including an application for withholding certificate, for the disposition of a USRPI occurring after November 3, 2003. The IRS has commented that it will not process a withholding certificate application which does not include the TIN of the Seller and, if applicable, the foreign Buyer, and will deny such application or at least deem the application temporarily incomplete without the inclusion of the TIN's.


Often, foreign owners are unaware of withholding requirements or the requirement to provide a TIN until immediately prior to closing, which does not give the client much opportunity to address the issue. If you represent foreign Buyers, it is a good time to make them aware of FIRPTA so that they may consult with a professional to discuss the advisability of filing for a TIN well in advance of any considerations to sell the property. There is no risk or jeopardy for the seller to obtain a TIN! If the client is a Seller, the earlier you identify these issues, the better – certainly at or before execution of the contract and preferably, upon listing of the property. The more time our clients have to consider the ramifications of FIRPTA, the more options they may have available to them. Remember that withholding under FIRPTA may seriously impact your closing, especially if the proceeds of sale are marginal. We have had incidents where, because of FIRPTA, the Seller was required to bring additional cash to closing just to satisfy the 10% withholding requirement! Please do not make this mistake, because sometimes, the Seller is not going to be able to make up the difference and it will jeopardize the closing!

Foreigners are required to file a tax return to report the sale even if no tax is due. When the sale occurs during the year may influence the seller's decision whether or not to file an application for reduced withholding. For example, assuming the sale is late in the year, it might not be worth the effort or cost to prepare the application. But this should be a decision made by the seller only after consultation with a professional with expertise in this area!

A final consideration is what happens in the event that a Seller, or foreign Buyer, fails or refuses to provide their TIN as required by these regulations? If a foreign Buyer fails to provide a TIN to the Seller in time to allow the Seller to file for a withholding certificate before closing, the Seller might be damaged. It is conceivable that a Buyer might use the TIN filing requirement as leverage to force concessions from a Seller, especially if the Seller had to come up with extra cash at closing to comply with the FIRPTA withholding requirement. Similarly, the foreign Buyer may have exposure if the Seller fails or refuses to timely provide a TIN following closing to avoid penalties for late remittance of the withheld amount and late filing of Form 8288. The regulations do not provide sanctions for failure to provide a TIN on a timely basis. In such cases, we may have to consider inserting into our contract a clause providing a specific representation by a party to provide a TIN and possible sanctions if a party does not timely provide the TIN. This is for our clients ultimate protection.

If you believe that you may have a FIRPTA issue, please contact us. If our client is in need of professional assistance and does not have an attorney or CPA, we will recommend the services of, and make arrangements for our clients to speak directly with:

Miami-Dade County

Broward County

Palm Beach County

Those firms has been approved by the IRS as a processing agent for TIN applications. Therefore, if an application is prepared by them, it is not necessary for the applicant to send original identification documents with the W-7 application to the IRS in Philadelphia. More importantly, having a tax professional assist you in these matters will take pressure off we can focus on servicing our clients through the transaction. The sooner you identify a potential FIRPTA issue and have it reviewed by a professional, the more effective you will be. Our clients appreciate our efforts!



FL Properties
Search by ID
Simple Search
Detailed Search
Community Lookup
ZIP code search
Waterfront Properties
Retirement Communities
Special Needs

Help Tools
Statistics of sales
Forms & Agreements
Amortization Calculator
Mortgage Calculator

Local Info
About Florida State
Local Cities
Florida Malls
School Information
Weather Radar
Health and Safety
Home and Taxes
Area Information
Consumer Links
Popular Searches
Here are your complete Fort Lauderdale Florida home information & relocation
              resource. Search thousands of homes for sale in Fort Lauderdale,
              Broward County & surrounding Southeast Florida areas including
              the cities of Coral, Springs, Coconut Creek, Margate, Parkland,
              Tamarac, Coral Gables, Boca Raton, Parkland, Palm Beach, North
              Palm beach, West Plam Beach, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and Pompano
              Beach, Florida.
            Florida homes for sale, relocation info for real estate in Ft.
              Lauderdale, Coral Springs, Boca Raton, Parkland and most of Broward
              County. Please contact me for information on the following communities:
              Parkland, South Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Coconut Creek, Weston,
              Boca Raton, Hollywood, and Broward County Real Estate & homes.
              I can help real estate clients looking for homes, condos, town
              homes, waterfront properties and lots, and property in South Florida,
              Weston, Coconut Creek, Fort Lauderdale, Parkland, Hollywood, Plantation
              and nearby cities, supplying MLS and school information. MLS multiple
              listing service data here is provided by Realtor Association of
              Greater Fort lauderdale. This covers MLS residential or commercial
              homes, new construction or waterfront properties in the Florida
              Coastal or Parkland area real estate, such as in Miramar, Pompano,
              West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Parkland, South Florida, Hollywood,
              Coconut Creek, Weston. I am an agent for buyers, seller or sellers
              or real estate agents of Parkland, South Florida, Coconut Creek,
              Lighthouse Point, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines or Hollywood
              MLS homes of a Realtors® or other buyer or seller. The data here
              helps find MLS home, condo, waterfront properties, vacant lots
              or real estate, town homes or residential real estate or other
              properties in Dania, Parkland, South Florida, Weston and Fort Lauderdale.
            Parkland communities include: Bay Cove, BBB Ranches, Castle Rock,
              Country Point, Country Place, Cypress Head, Cypress Cay, Cypress
              Trail, Edgewood, Fox Ridge, Grand Cypress, Heron Bay Parkland,
              Heron Cove Parkland, Highlands Parkland, In The Pines Parkland,
              Lakes of Parkland, Landings Parkland, Landings Estates Parkland,
              Mayfair Parkland, Meadow Run Parkland, Mews Parkland, Oldebrook
              Parkland, Parkland Isles Parkland, Parkwood Parkland, Pine Tree
              Estates Parkland, Pointe Parkland, Ranches Parkland, Reserves Parkland,
              Riverside Acres Parkland, Sable Pass Parkland, Tall Pines Parkland,
              Ternbridge Parkland, Terramar Parkland, Terramar Mill Run Parkland,
              Vistas Parkland, Whittier Oaks Parkland, Waterford Parkland and
              Waters Edge Parkland. A freshly painted fence gives a Parkland
              home a crisp look.
            South Florida communities include:Applewood FL, Arbors FL, Bay
              Cove FL, Bay Pointe FLA, Bayside Estates FLA, Biscayne Villas FLA,
              Breezewood FLA, Briarwood Floirda, Broken woods Floirda, Brookside
              Florida, Brookside Grove Florida, Brookside Isles Florida, Carriage
              Pointe Florida, Casa Del Sol Florida, Chelsea Fl., Clusters, Coquina
              Cove Fl., Coral Creek Fl., South Florida country Club, South Florida
              Hills, South Florida II, South Florida University, Country Acres
              Broward County, Coral Shores Broward County, Coventry Broward County,
              Coventry Cove Broward County, Coventry Place South Florida, Crystal
              Park South Florida, Cypress Glen South Florida, Cypress Isle South
              Florida, Cypress Run Coral Springs, Dells Coral Springs, Deer Run
              Springs South Florida, Eagle Creek Coral Springs, Eagle Glen Coral
              Springs, Eagle Lakes Broward, Eagle Landing Broward, Eagle Trace
              Broward, Eagle Trace Estates , Eastridge Village , Electralab West
              Broward, Enclave West Broward, Falls West Broward, Fairways , Feathertree
              West Broward FL, Forest Hills West Broward FL, Grand Reserve So
              Fla, Greens So Fla, Greenwood So. Fla, Heron Bay So. Fla, Hidden
              Hammocks 33071, Hidden Lakes, Highland Place.
Coryright © 2007 Access USA Realty Inc. | | ( site views)
  Information being provided is for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Properties listed by brokerage firms other than Access USA Realty are marked with MLS share. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. All properties are subject to prior sale, change, or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) nor Access USA Realty shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints, and shall be held harmless.