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Real Estate for Tax Savings: A Comprehensive Guide from Inheritance Tax Strategies to Tax Deductions

Inheritance Tax Strategies
Real Estate for Tax Savings in Japan


When faced with inheritance tax planning in Japan, most people immediately think of how to manage their cash and stocks. However, there's a lesser-known method for reducing taxes: real estate. This article provides an in-depth explanation of how to use real estate for inheritance tax planning and specific tax-saving strategies. It also covers the risks associated with each option and strategy.

Real Estate and Inheritance Tax Valuation

One of the first advantages of real estate is that its valuation for inheritance tax is often set lower than its market value. This is especially true for properties like homes or land that are rented out. By understanding this mechanism, you can strategically manage your real estate to lighten the inheritance tax burden.

Why is the Valuation Lower?

Generally, real estate is assessed at a value lower than its current market value. This is because factors such as property tax assessment and physical depreciation over time are taken into account. When it comes to rental properties, operational conditions and associated risks can lead to an even lower valuation.

Home Valuation Methods

The valuation of a house typically matches its property tax assessment. This is determined by local municipalities and accounts for factors such as wear and tear over time.

Rental Properties and Valuation

For rental properties, it's possible to receive further reductions from the property tax valuation. This is due to considerations like operational risks, vacancy risks, and maintenance costs. While the specific rate of reduction can vary depending on the property and location, understanding this can help you plan more effective tax-saving strategies.

Land Valuation Methods

Land is generally valued using methods such as the road-side price method or the multiplier method. Particularly, road-side prices are usually set around 20% lower than the publicized prices.

Leveraging Different Valuation Methods

There are various methods for land valuation, and clever utilization of these methods can lead to tax savings. For instance, temporarily changing the intended use of the land can sometimes result in a lower valuation.

Types of Tax-Saving Strategies:

Using Your Home for Tax Savings

The land and buildings you live in often have a lower inheritance tax valuation, making them preferable to cash as inherited assets. Additionally, leveraging special provisions like "small-scale residential land" can lead to significant reductions in taxable amounts. These provisions allow for further lowering of home valuations under specific conditions, potentially saving millions or even tens of millions of yen.

Apartment and Condo Management

When you rent out properties, their valuation decreases even further. This is particularly true in bustling or popular areas where market prices are high, creating a bigger gap between market value and inheritance tax valuation.

Selling Land

Selling your home or unused land and using the funds to purchase new real estate is another option. This is particularly beneficial if you have idle land; converting it into rental property can lower its inheritance tax valuation.

Disadvantages and Considerations

While tax-saving strategies are effective, they are not without risks. These include the risk of vacant rental properties, changes in tax laws, and operational failures. These risks need to be comprehensively considered when selecting the appropriate tax-saving measures.

Vacancy Risks

When rental properties become vacant, their valuation decreases, resulting in higher inheritance taxes. To avoid this risk, ongoing market research and proper rent-setting and property management are essential.

Impact of Tax Law Changes

Tax laws can change frequently. Strategies that provide significant tax benefits are often the first to be targeted for revisions. Therefore, it's important to include the potential for future tax law changes in your tax-saving plans.


Real estate can be a highly effective tool for inheritance tax planning, but it also comes with its own set of risks. It's crucial to thoroughly understand tax laws, exemptions, and valuation methods, as well as to comprehensively assess potential risks. For maximizing tax-saving benefits, expert advice can be invaluable. By making well-planned and executed decisions, you can achieve smart asset management and tax savings.

We hope this comprehensive guide has given you valuable insights into how you can leverage real estate for inheritance tax planning and tax reductions.


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