Real estate lease in Croatia for foreigners: Where to begin?

Whether you already own a property in Croatia, or you are just about to buy one, it is very possible that the idea of leasing your property to tourists has crossed your mind. Tourism is very popular and developed in…

Whether you already own a property in Croatia, or you are just about to buy one, it is very possible that the idea of leasing your property to tourists has crossed your mind. Tourism is very popular and developed in Croatia, so offering real estate lease to guests can be a very payable business. Keep reading to find out more about the basic rules in the business for foreigners, written by our tax advisor Ivica Baban.

Real estate lease in Croatia

Foreign natural persons who are owners of real estate in the Republic of Croatia may provide tourist accommodation services there.
What steps and tax obligations are required to provide a tourist accommodation service depends primarily on whether foreign natural persons who own real estate in the Republic of Croatia come from:
1. Member States of the European Union, the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein) or the Swiss Confederation
2. Other countries.

In this blog, we will address in more detail the situation where tourist accommodation is provided by foreigners coming from Member States of the European Union, the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein) or the Swiss Confederation.

Leasing properties in Croatia – Step by step guide

They may provide tourist accommodation services in the Republic of Croatia as natural persons without registering a craft or a company. The initial step is to obtain a work permit from the competent rental authority. In this way, foreigners are considered to be renters providing tourist accommodation service as well as natural persons resident in the Republic of Croatia. It is also necessary to be entered into the register of taxpayers in the Republic of Croatia on the prescribed form.

Tax obligations arising from the provision of tourist accommodation service can be divided into two groups:
a) As natural persons, renters are subject to income tax on the provision of tourist accommodation services which they can pay:

1. In a lump sum by their own decision, if the receipts from the provision of tourist accommodation services do not exceed the amount of HRK 300,000.00 annually
2. If their receipts from the provision of tourist accommodation services exceed the amount of HRK 300,000.00 annually, they are obliged to keep business books and pay income tax based on the prescribed rates (currently the income tax rates are 24% and 36%).

b) Renters are subject to VAT if they provide tourist accommodation directly to the guest and as renters are obliged to issue an invoice in which they will calculate VAT of 13%, which they are obliged to report as VAT payers in the Republic of Croatia on the prescribed form (20th day of the current month for the previous month) and pay within the legal deadline (the last day of the current month for the previous month).

If as renters they provide the service of tourist accommodation through a tourist agency then they are not obliged to become VAT payers in the Republic of Croatia, nor do they calculate VAT on the invoices they issue to the tourist agency. It is important to point out that in this case, the tourist agency issues an invoice to the guest on its own behalf, while the foreign owner of the property in which the tourist accommodation service is provided issues an invoice to the tourist agency without VAT.

If the agency would only work as an intermediary and issue an invoice for the intermediary to the foreigner, then the renter would be obliged to register as a VAT payer in the Republic of Croatia and to the invoices it issues to the guest directly (and for which the tourist agency mediated ) to calculate VAT of 13%.

The registration itself as a VAT payer in the Republic of Croatia is done on the prescribed forms before the start of providing real estate lease services.