Inheritance tax and inheritance law in North Macedonia

Taxation Researcher | February 05, 2020

Inheritance tax and inheritance law in North Macedonia

The Global Property Guide looks at inheritance from two angles: taxation, and what inheritance laws apply to foreigners leaving property in Austria: what restrictions there are, and whether making a will is advisable.

Our thanks for the following valuable contribution to Martin Boskoski of Lalicic and Boskoski Law Office

INHERITANCE TAX

According to Inheritance Law, the inheritance and gift tax rates depend on the inheritance order.

The first inheritance row does not pay taxes for inheriting real property. The inheritance tax and the tax for the gift of property for second inheritance row are calculated at the rate of 2% to 3%, and for third inheritance row or someone who is not related to the testator, the tax is calculated at the rate of 4% to 5%.

INHERITANCE LAW

Will North Macedonian courts always deal with the case of property in North Macedonia, after the death of the former owner?  According to the International Private Law, the Court of the Republic of North Macedonia is exclusively competent to deal with the immovable property both of foreign citizens, and of citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia, if such inheritance is in the Republic of North Macedonia.

In the absence of a will, who inherits real property?  The property of the deceased person is inherited by the descendants, the adoptees and their descendants, the spouse, the adoptive parents, the parents, the brothers and sisters and their descendants, the grandmothers and grandfathers and their descendants.

Is there are a "reserved portion", when making a will?  There is a special category of heirs, called necessary heirs, which include the children of the testator, his adopted children, and his spouse. We have for example one house that is owned by a person that has wife and two children.  If there was no testament, everyone would be entitled to equal part of the house, or 1/3 for each person.

If there is a testament, the person named in the testament would be able to get ½ of the house, and the other half would be split between the wife and the children. This means that the wife and the children will get ½ of what they were supposed to get if there was no testament. Based on this, they will now get 1/6, which is half of the 1/3 they were supposed to get.

The offspring of the testator´s children and his adoptive parent are necessary heirs only if they lived in the community at the time of the death of the testator or if they supported them or are permanently incapable of work and lack the necessary means of subsistence. The testator´s parents and his siblings are necessary heirs only if they are permanently incapable of work and lack the necessary means of subsistence.

The necessary part of the descendants, adopted children and the spouse is one half, and necessary part of the other heirs is one-third of the portion of each heir would have been entitled to, under the legal order of succession.

For example, we might have a person who has one house and has two grandsons who at the time of the death of the testator lived in a community with him or her and they were dependent or permanently incapable of work and did not have the necessary means of subsistence.

Without a testament, these individuals will each get ½ of the house. They will also get ½ even they were not living with him/her and were not dependent on this person.

But if there is a testament they will each get 1/3 of the ½, which is 1/6 of the house per each grandson. The final outcome will be the first grandson 1/6, the second grandson 1/6 and the individual stated in the testament, 4/6.

What are the methods of making a will?  According to the applicable law, the methods of making a will are provided in one of the following forms: written will, the court will if the testator is unable to read, will in front of a diplomatic or consular representative abroad, will during military service, international will, and an oral will.

Can the owner donate his/her property freely prior to death?  According to the Law on Obligations, there are three possible ways of donating one´s property prior to death. These include a gift agreement, agreement for property transfer during life which has to be with the given agreement of the spouse and the descendants, and agreement for providing lifetime care.

The main difference is that in the gift agreement, the heirs are not approving the transfer of the property. Because of this the necessary heirs have the right to ask for the necessary part of the legacy if the agreement was made 90 days before the death of the testator.

In the case of agreement for property transfer during life, the heirs approve this transfer, and cannot challenge it, unless it is improperly made. But the agreement for property transfer is rarely used - the gift agreement is much more common.

The third option is an agreement for providing lifetime care - a two-sided agreement by which the party has to provide the care until the end of the life in order for the property to be transferred.

What happens if a minor inherits? Is a guardian appointed, and by whom?  Minors are able to inherit, but their parents are their representatives if they have the capacity to contract; otherwise a legal guardian will be appointed by the Center of Social Affairs. Any actions taken such selling the property must happen after reaching adulthood.

Can a foreigner own property in North Macedonia?  Foreign natural persons and legal entities, residents of the member states of the European Union and OECD may acquire the right of ownership of an apartment, residential building, and business premises in North Macedonia in the same manner as the citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia, however in the case of the above categories belonging to non-member states of the European Union and the OECD, conditions of reciprocity apply.  Ownership of agricultural land cannot be acquired by foreign natural persons and legal entities, though they may acquire, under the conditions of reciprocity, the right to a long-term lease of agricultural land, on the basis of a consent of the Minister of Justice, having previously acquired the opinion of the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Resource Management and the Minister of Finance. The existence of reciprocity shall be determined by the Minister of Justice.

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