Tax Implications for Foreign Nationals Buying Land in the USA

Foreign Ownership and FIRPTA
The first thing that a foreign national should understand when purchasing land in the USA is the Foreign Investment Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA). This act applies to any non-US citizen who purchases property within the United States, regardless if it’s used as an investment or not. The law requires that foreign nationals pay taxes on any gain they make from selling their property, and this includes any gain resulting from appreciation of value over time.

Tax Benefits and Exemptions
Fortunately, there are several ways that foreign nationals can reduce their tax burden when purchasing land in America. One such way is through the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE), which allows individuals to exclude up to $102,100 of income earned while working outside of the US from their taxable income. This exclusion also applies to capital gains made on investments held outside of the US, including real estate investments. Additionally, some countries have Double Taxation Agreements with the United States which may further reduce taxes owed by foreign investors. It is important for any potential investor to research these agreements before making an investment decision.

Capital Gains Taxes & Withholding Requirements

When it comes time to sell your property, you will need to pay capital gains taxes on your profits unless you qualify for an exemption or deferral through one of the aforementioned programs such as FEIE or Double Taxation Agreements. Additionally, under current laws, buyers may need to withhold 15 percent of sale price when selling land owned by non-US citizens as part payment for future taxes owed by those same owners; this withholding requirement does not apply if you purchased your property via a corporation or LLC registered within the United States with an EIN number issued by IRS. As always, it's important to speak with a qualified tax advisor familiar with both US and international tax laws prior to making any major decisions related to real estate investments within the United States borders.


For foreign nationals interested in investing in U.S.-based land, there are numerous complex tax implications that must be considered before taking action—from understanding FIRPTA regulations and researching double taxation agreements between countries, down to understanding withholding requirements upon sale of said properties. However, with proper planning and professional advice by experienced advisors familiar with both US domestic and international tax laws, investors can secure excellent returns while reducing their overall taxation burden significantly—enabling them more leeway financially as they pursue their goals related to owning U.S.-based land investments!