A scheme to encourage first-time buyers to buy a property is being extended, with the property value eligible for a reduced tax being extended from the current €175,000 to €200,000, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna announced on Monday in his Budget 2021 speech. 

Similarly, reduced duties announced earlier this year on property purchases are being extended to March 2021 for promise-of-sale agreements and until the end of 2021 for the signing of contracts of sale. 

Taxes on property donations are also being eased, with the first €250,000 in the value of a property being tax-exempt, up from the current €200,000.

It is the second time in as many years that the government is improving on its first-time buyers tax incentive: one year ago, Scicluna had upped the eligible property value for this grant to €175,000 from the previous €150,000 limit.  

Reduced tax for businesses

The 1.5% tax concession on the transfer of businesses is also being extended by a year. 

The minister also announced that the tax-free threshold for VAT-exempt businesses is being raised from the current €20,000 to €30,000.

He said the government will be introducing schemes to help business start-ups, to encourage online business, and to help firms attract new foreign investment.  

Assistance will also be given in the tourism sector for marketing, while a range of current schemes, such as those for job creation in Gozo, will be retained.

With regard to agriculture and fisheries, farmers and fisherman will be given government grants equivalent to what they pay in tax on sales at the vegetable and fish markets.  

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