Untaxed

European governments give huge tax benefits to real estate investors and owners - a policy that is common in many member states despite all political differences. Over the past months, Investigate Europe’s team analysed the taxation and loopholes for real estate investments in several European countries. This lures billions of euros to the overheated real estate market.

December 2022

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The investigation found that Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK all have tax regimes that favour certain kind of real estate investments more than other types of business or investments. The most common privileges include full exemptions on capital gains, special free-tax guarantees for funds, and rent income taxed lower than other types of profits. 

Economists, tax experts, lawyers and organisations interviewed by our reporters arrive to a clear conclusion: real estate, both commercial and residential, is under-taxed or untaxed in most countries. 

The investigation reveals several examples of tax avoidance schemes by real estate investors. There is no European regulation nor oversight, so patterns are hard to prove. Still Investigate Europe’s research shows misallocation of capital in member states like Germany, Italy, Portugal or Belgium to the tune of billions of Euros due to these exemptions. 

This has direct social consequences: capital is lured into real estate, drives up prices, and by this contributes to the escalating housing crisis in many European countries. Statistics show that in all other EU countries apart from Italy and Malta, house prices rose from 2010 at rates that were higher than inflation or average wage growth. This is also true for Norway and UK as Investigate Europe’s findings show. In European cities like Prague, Bratislava and Paris, it will take more than 20 years of average wages to buy a flat. 

Investigate Europe spoke to people behind the figures and victims of the housing crisis in many European countries. The reporters also confronted national governments with the tax privileges and their social costs. Read those findings, human stories and political answers in our new investigation.

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Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italy

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VSquare, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia

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infoLibre

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infoLibre

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Telex, Hungary

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Niches fiscales : Le malheur des locataires pour le plus grand bénef de Gecina
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Blast, France

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Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland

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Milano, parco giochi di Sgr e costruttori (non delle famiglie)
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Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italy

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Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italy

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Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italy

12 December 2022

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Dagens Nyheter, Sweden

12 December 2022

Immobilienboom: Steuerlücken und falsche Anreize
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Deutschlandfunk

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Vårt Land, Norway

6 January 2023

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Rheinpfalz, Germany

7 January 2023

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Vårt Land, Norway

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