Investing in property overseas can offer more than just a holiday home or rental income, it can also provide various tax benefits. Understanding these tax benefits is essential for maximising returns and minimising tax liabilities.

1. Tax deductions

Owning real estate overseas opens up avenues for various tax deductions that can significantly impact your financial bottom line. Here’s a breakdown of some common deductions available to property owners.

Mortgage interest

Expats who have taken out a mortgage to purchase their overseas property can deduct the interest paid on that mortgage from their taxable income. This deduction can be substantial, especially in the early years of the mortgage when interest payments are highest.

Property taxes

Similar to owning property domestically, expats can deduct property taxes paid on their overseas real estate from their taxable income. This deduction can include local property taxes imposed by the foreign country where the property is located.

Maintenance and repair costs

Expenses related to maintaining and repairing the overseas property are also deductible. This includes costs for routine maintenance, repairs, and renovations necessary to keep the property in good condition.

Insurance premiums

Expats can deduct insurance premiums paid to insure their overseas property. This includes premiums for property insurance, liability insurance and any other insurance policies related to the property.


Expats can also claim depreciation on their overseas real estate investment. Depreciation allows property owners to deduct a portion of the property’s value each year as it wears out or becomes obsolete. This deduction can provide a significant tax saving over time.

2. Foreign tax credit

Those who own real estate overseas may benefit from a foreign tax credit, offering relief from double taxation on income earned abroad. Here’s how the foreign tax credit works and how it applies to real estate ownership.

Offset taxes paid abroad

The foreign tax credit allows taxpayers to offset taxes paid to a foreign country against their home country. This credit applied to various types of taxes paid abroad, including income taxes, property taxes and other levies related to real estate ownership.

Reduction of tax liability

Expats can claim the foreign tax credit on their tax return in their home country, effectively reducing their tax liability dollar for dollar. For example, if you pay property taxes on a rental property abroad, you can often claim those taxes as a credit on your tax return, reducing your tax bill by the amount of taxes paid to the foreign country.

Avoid double taxation

The primary purpose of the foreign tax credit is to prevent expats from being taxed on the same income or assets twice – once by the foreign country and again by their home country. By claiming the credit, expats can avoid double taxation and ensure that they are not paying more in taxes than they owe.


There are restrictions on the foreign tax credit, including rules regarding eligible foreign taxes, income categories, and credit calculations. Expats should carefully review tax regulations in their home country and seek advice from tax professionals to ensure proper compliance and maximisation of available credits.

3.Tax deferral

Owning a holiday home offers the advantage of tax deferral, allowing investors to postpone paying capital gains taxes on property sales. Here is how tax deferral works and its tax benefits for expat property owners.

Capital gains tax deferral

In the US, when you sell a property , you typically own capital gains taxes on any profit from the sale. However, if you sell a property overseas, you may have the option to defer paying capital gains taxes by reinvesting the proceeds into another foreign property. This is commonly known as a 1031 exchange or like-kind exchange.

Reinvestment opportunity

Through a 1031 exchange or similar mechanism, investors can defer taxes by reinvesting the proceeds from the sale of a foreign property into another qualifying foreign property. By doing so, investors can continue to grow their property portfolio without immediate tax consequences.

Potential portfolio growth

Tax deferral enables investors to leverage their capital more effectively, reinvesting funds that would otherwise be allocated to taxes into additional real estate assets. This approach can lead to portfolio diversification, increased rental income, and potential long-term appreciation, ultimately enhancing overall investment returns.


It’s important to understand the rules and regulations governing tax deferral strategies, including eligibility criteria, timing requirements, and property reinvestment guidelines. Working with a qualified tax advisor or real estate professional familiar with international tax laws can help ensure compliance and maximise the benefits of tax deferral opportunities.

Owning real estate overseas can provide various tax benefits, including deductions for property-related expenses, foreign tax credits, and opportunities for tax deferral. By leveraging these tax advantages, expats can maximise their returns on investment and achieve their financial goals while enjoying the benefits of property ownership abroad.

Written by Alexandra Lhomond from Ibanista, an Anglo-French specialist currency broker.

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