You own a business and would like to finally enjoy your well-deserved retirement after years of work. You would like to advertise the property and the business building on it for sale? But do you know what taxes will be incurred when you sell your commercial property? You have already read my blog post House sale and taxes (Part1/2): How much do you have to pay to the state? and are now wondering whether taxation is the same for commercial sales?

Real estate income tax, speculation tax & Co - as a real estate agent I have already looked after many clients who were familiar with these terms, but nothing more.

You don't want to read legal texts, but would like a simple explanation of these terms that is also understandable for you as a non-lawyer and gives you an overview of the complex matter?

Then read on! In my blog post you will learn how the sale of your commercial property is taxed and why the date of your property purchase determines how much tax you have to pay!

Selling commercial property: Which tax rate applies?

Until April 2012, the so-called speculation tax applied to the sale of real estate. It included a speculation period of ten years. If a commercial property was sold outside this period, the profit was tax-free. .

The speculation tax was abolished and since 1 April 2012 all sales profits are uniformly subject to real estate income tax (ImmoESt for short). ImmoESt amounts to 30% for real estate sales in business assets.

For companies subject to accounting (corporations such as GmbHs), the sale is also subject to tax! Profits from the sale are subject to 25% corporate income tax.
Important for all entrepreneurs: A reduction of corporate income tax to 23% is planned by 2024.

How are the sales profits taxed?

We distinguish in the sale of commercial real estate between the sale of an operational property and the sale of operational buildings.

#1 Sale of a commercial property acquired after 31.03.2002 (new case)

Your sales profit is taxed at 30% real estate income tax. The sales profit is the difference between the acquisition costs and the sales price.


01.02.2004: You as a sole trader buy a commercial property for 590.000 €.
31.12.2021: You sell the property for 990,000 €.

Selling price: 990.000 €
- Acquisition cost: € 590,000
Profit on sale: € 400,000
ImmoESt: 30% of € 400,000 = € 120,000

Tip from the broker: Under certain circumstances, a business expense deduction is possible. You can deduct the notary's self-calculation costs as well as any shortfalls from input tax adjustments.

#2 Sale of a commercial property acquired before 31.03.2002 (old case)

The taxation here depends on whether a rezoning of the property took place after 31 December 1987.

Possibility #1: No rededication has taken place

Here you can deduct a flat rate of 86% of the sale proceeds as acquisition costs. The remaining profit (14%) must be taxed at 30% real estate income tax.


You as a sole trader buy a commercial property on 02.02.1980.
You sell the property on 30.01.2022 for 990,000 €.
Since you bought the property, there has been no rezoning.

Acquisition costs (86% of €990,000) = €851,400
remaining profit = 138,600 € (990,000 € - 851,400 €)
ImmoESt: 30% of € 138,600 = € 41,580

Possibility #2: A rededication has taken place

You may only deduct 40% fictitious acquisition costs from the sales proceeds. The remaining profit (60%) is taxable at 30%.


You as a sole trader buy a commercial property on 02.02.1980.
In 1990 there has been a rezoning to building land.
You sell the property on 30.01.2022 for 990.000 €.

Acquisition costs (40% of € 990,000) = € 396,000
remaining profit: € 594,000 (€ 990,000 - € 396,000)
ImmoESt: 30% of € 594,000 = € 178,200

# 3 Sale of a business premises

When selling a business building, the tax rate of 30% is generally applied. The assessment basis is the sales profit less the residual book value for tax purposes. The time of acquisition is irrelevant for business premises.

However, there are also exceptions. For these, the sale is taxed at up to 55%.
These exceptions are as follows:

  • Businesses with a focus on the transfer & sale of commercial properties
  • Real estate held as current assets
  • Properties whose book value was reduced by a partial value depreciation
  • If hidden reserves have been transferred to the property

Important tip for mixed-use properties!
If you use the ground floor of your property as office space and the upper floor as living space, we speak of a mixed-use property. This results in a proportional allocation to the business or private assets.

However, if the business share of your property is less than 20%, the entire building is considered private property. If the business share is over 80%, your property is considered business assets for tax purposes! In this case, you lose the so-called principal residence exemptionupon sale.

You can read here what immense advantage the main residence exemption brings you: "How to sell your commercial property tax-free?" (published by 28.02.2022 at the latest). In addition, you will receive useful tips on how to sell your commercial property tax-free.

Conclusion: For an exact tax calculation, it is best to contact a professional!

As you can see from the above examples, the taxation of business capital gains is a complex matter that also harbours stumbling blocks. In order not to make any serious mistakes in the calculation, you should rather seek the help of a professional when selling commercial real estate. As a layperson, you probably don't know what to look out for in detail.
The consequence: If you pay an incorrectly calculated tax, you will face high financial penalties!

Do you have any further questions about selling commercial property or do you need professional advice on calculating tax?

Feel free to contact me with your questions. You can contact me at any time: Via e-mail(, via telephone(+ 43 512 580 242) or via contact form (click here!).

Yours sincerely,
Yours sincerely, Bernhard Großruck


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