Carry out titles searches at the Titles Office
Agency: Office of the Registrar of Titles
The title search is carried out in the Office of the Registrar of Titles manually. Counter clerks perform a search for needed information through volumes of data. The originals are never given, the counter clerks photocopy the originals and charge only for making copies (around 50-60 cents). The Procedure takes between a couple of hours and up to several days if the necessary document got lost or replaced in the archives.
Time and cost: 1 day, FJD 5.5 (50-60 cents per copy (10 copies required))
Present transfer documents for stamping at the Stamp Duties Office and pay stamp duty
Agency: Stamp Duties Office
The transfer documents are submitted together with copies of the title for stamping and payment of 3.0% tax at the Stamp Duties Office which is based within the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) office.
Time and cost: 7 days, FJD 18,101.21 (3.0% of property value (stamp duty) for Fiji nationals, 10% for foreigners)
The seller submits documents to FRCA to obtain the Capital Gains Tax Clearance Certificate
Agency: Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA)
The seller needs to register and obtain a Capital Gains Tax Clearance Certificate from FRCA confirming either that CGT has been paid, or satisfactory arrangement for payment of the tax has been made, or no tax is payable. The seller needs to submit the following documents:
- CGT Declaration form (which is available at the FRCA website)
- CGT Return form (which is available at the FRCA website)
- Copy of the certificate of title
- Copy of the last registered transfer of the subject property in favor of the seller
- Copy of the stamped transfer of the property from the seller to the buyer
It would be advisable to attach documentary evidence of all claims in respect of the ‘cost of the property’ so that there is timely processing of the application for CGT Clearance Certificate by FRCA. Where documentary evidence is not available, letters could be written, or statutory declarations could be provided to FRCA to explain the reasons for non-availability of the required documents. This would assist FRCA to process and issue of the CGT Clearance Certificate.
Where CGT is payable, and the seller does not have the funds to pay the CGT, arrangements could be made with FRCA for the issue of the CGT Clearance Certificate. The seller’s lawyer could commit with the FRCA to hold the sale proceeds in the trust account and pay the CGT to FRCA before paying the balance sale proceeds to the seller.
Time and cost: 7 days, no charge
Settlement takes place at the Registrar of Titles Office
Agency: Office of the Registrar of Titles (ROT)
Parties meet at the Registrar of Titles Office for settlement. The parties first double check encumbrances on the property and then exchange the titles for the payment. When this formality is accomplished, they submit the transfer documents for registration. The Registrar of Titles must not register an instrument for the transfer of a capital asset unless the seller or the purchaser furnishes the Registrar with a CGT Clearance Certificate confirming that CGT has been paid or satisfactory arrangement for payment of the tax has been made, or no tax is payable. It is possible that some new mortgages might still be in “the pipeline” and are not yet recorded on the property at the settlement (the mortgage has been submitted in the registry, but it has not been inscribed yet). To avoid finding later about a mortgage on the property, it is possible to request a “guaranteed search” (under section 30, 31 and 32 of the Land Transfer act) where the registry checks and certifies that there are no other mortgages registered.
Under the Land Transfer Act Amendment Decree No. 34 of 2011, the Registrar of Titles now requires certified copies of any one of the following Identifications of both parties to be lodged with the Transfer:
- Letter from FRCA confirming the Tax Identification Number (for individuals and companies) or
- A true certified copy of the Certificate of Incorporation or Certificate of Name Change (for companies only) or
- Passport bio-data page (for individuals only) or
- Driving license (for individuals only).
Time and cost: 60 days, FJD 11.5 (FDJ 11.5 for properties over FDJ 100,000 + VAT of 9.0% (According to the case study assumptions, VAT is not included))