Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.
Purpose: These rules define what is, and is not, considered a "sale" of real property for purposes of the real estate excise tax (REET), and explain exemptions from REET and the documentation requirements necessary to claim those exemptions. These rules have been amended as follows:
|•||WAC 458-61A-202 - recognizes SSB 6851 (chapter 269, Laws of 2008), which identifies specific documentation requirements in order to receive an exemption for the community property interest of a decedent that is transferred to a surviving spouse or surviving domestic partner;|
|•||WAC 458-61A-203 - recognizes 2SHB 3104 (chapter 6, Laws of 2008), which expanded the rights, privileges, obligations, and liabilities of domestic partners and domestic partnerships registered under chapter 26.60 RCW; and|
|•||WAC 458-61A-102 - recognizes 2SHB 3104 (chapter 6, Laws of 2008); and E2SHB 1621 (chapter 116, Laws of 2008), which provides a REET exemption for the sale of a manufactured/mobile home community to certain organizations, including but not limited to qualified tenant organizations, local governments, or nonprofit community or neighborhood-based organizations.|
Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 458-61A-102 Real estate excise tax -- Definitions, 458-61A-202 Real estate excise tax -- Inheritance or devise (describes requirements for claiming exemption from REET under this rule), and 458-61A-203 Real estate excise tax -- Community property, dissolution of marriage, legal separation, decree of invalidity.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 82.45.150.
Adopted under notice filed as WSR 08-19-087 on September 16, 2008.
Changes Other than Editing from Proposed to Adopted Version: The following definition of "domestic partnership," a term used elsewhere in chapter 458-61A WAC, has been added as subsection (7) of WAC 458-61A-102, with the following subsections renumbered: "Domestic partner" means one of two adults who are "state registered domestic partners" as defined in RCW 26.60.020.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 3, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 3, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 3, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: December 2, 2008.
Alan R. Lynn
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-23-093, filed 11/16/05, effective 12/17/05)
WAC 458-61A-102 Definitions. For the purposes of chapter 458-61A WAC, the following definitions apply unless the context requires otherwise:
(1) "Affidavit" means the real estate excise tax affidavit provided by the department for use by taxpayers in reporting transfers of real property. Both the seller/grantor and the buyer/grantee, or their agents, sign the affidavit under penalty of perjury. The term also includes the form used to report to the department transfers and acquisitions of a controlling interest in an entity owning real property in this state under WAC 458-61A-101.
(2) "Consideration" means money or anything of value, either tangible or intangible, paid or delivered, or contracted to be paid or delivered, including performance of services, in return for the transfer of real property. The term includes the amount of any lien, mortgage, contract indebtedness, or other encumbrance, given to secure the purchase price, or any part thereof, or remaining unpaid on the property at the time of sale. For example, Lee purchases a home for $250,000. He puts down $50,000, and finances the balance of $200,000. The full consideration paid for the house is $250,000.
(a) "Consideration" includes the issue of an ownership interest in any entity in exchange for a transfer of real property to the entity. For example, if Julie transfers title to 20 acres of commercial property to Smith Development, LLC in exchange for a 50% ownership interest in the company, that constitutes consideration for the transfer. In the case of partnerships, consideration includes the increase in the capital account of the partner made as a result of the partner's transfer of real property to the partnership, unless the transfer is otherwise specifically exempt under WAC 458-61A-211 or 458-61A-212.
(b) "Consideration" includes the assumption of an underlying debt on the property by the buyer at the time of transfer. For example, Ben buys a residence, valued at $300,000, from Liza. Liza was purchasing the property on a real estate contract that has an outstanding balance of $175,000. Ben gives Liza $125,000 in cash and he assumes the obligation on the real estate contract, which Liza assigns to him. Real estate excise tax is due on $300,000, which is the total consideration for the sale.
(c) "Consideration" does not include the amount of any outstanding lien or encumbrance in favor of the United States, the state, or a municipal corporation for taxes, special benefits, or improvements. For example, Mel buys residential property for $300,000. The title is encumbered by a lien for unpaid property taxes in the amount of $12,000, and a lien for municipal sidewalk improvements in the amount of $6,000. Although Mel will become liable for those liens in order to take title to the property, they are not considered part of the purchase price for the purpose of calculating real estate excise tax. The real estate excise tax is due only on the purchase price of $300,000.
(3) "Controlling interest" means:
(a) In the case of a corporation, either fifty percent or more of the total combined voting power of all classes of stock of the corporation entitled to vote, or fifty percent of the capital, profits, or beneficial interest in the voting stock of the corporation; and
(b) In the case of a partnership, association, trust, or other entity, fifty percent or more of the capital, profits, or beneficial interest in the partnership, association, trust, or other entity.
(4) "County" means the county treasurer or its agent.
(5) "Date of sale" means the date (normally shown on the instrument of conveyance or sale) that ownership of or title to real property, or control of the controlling interest in an entity that has a beneficial interest in real property, is delivered to the buyer/transferee in exchange for valuable consideration. In the case of a lease with option to purchase, the date of sale is the date when the purchase option is exercised and the property is transferred. "Date of sale," "date of transfer," "conveyance date," and "transaction date" all have the same meaning and may be used interchangeably in this chapter. The real estate excise tax is due on the date of sale.
(6) "Department" means the department of revenue.
(7) "Domestic partner" means one of two adults who are "state registered domestic partners" as defined in RCW 26.60.020.
(8) "Floating home" means a building on a float used in whole or in part for human habitation as a single-family dwelling, which is not designed for self-propulsion by mechanical means or for propulsion by means of wind, and which is on the property tax rolls of the county in which it is located.
(8))) (9) "Governmental entity" means the United
States, any agency or instrumentality of the United States,
the state of Washington ("state"), any government agency,
commission, college, university, or other department of the
state, any political subdivision of the state, counties, any
county agency, council, instrumentality, commission, office,
or department, any Washington taxing district, municipal
corporations of this state, and any office, council,
department, or instrumentality of a Washington municipal
(9))) (10) "Mining property" is property containing or
believed to contain metallic or nonmetallic minerals, and sold
or leased under terms that require the buyer or lessee to
conduct exploration or mining work thereon, and for no other
(10))) (11) "Mobile home" means a mobile home as
defined by RCW 46.04.302.
(11))) (12) "Mortgage" has its ordinary meaning, and
includes a "deed of trust" for the purposes of this chapter,
unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. The term
"underlying debt" may also be used to refer to a mortgage or
other security interest.
(12))) (13) "Park model trailer" means a park model
trailer as defined in RCW 46.04.622.
(13))) (14) "Real estate" or "real property" means any
interest, estate, or beneficial interest in land or anything
affixed to land, including the ownership interest or
beneficial interest in any entity that owns land, or anything
affixed to land, including standing timber and crops. The
term includes condominiums and individual apartments for which
the buyer receives a warranty deed. The term includes used
mobile homes, used park model trailers, used floating homes,
and improvements constructed upon leased land. The term also
includes any part of an irrigation system that is underground
or affixed to the land. The term does not include irrigation
equipment that is above the ground or that is not affixed to
land. See RCW 82.12.020 for the tax treatment of sales of
irrigation equipment that is not included in the definition of
(14))) (15) "Real estate contract" or "contract" means
any written agreement for the sale of real property in which
legal title to the property is retained by the seller as
security for the payment of the purchase price. The term does
not include earnest money agreements or options to purchase
(15))) (16) "Sale" means:
(a) Any conveyance, grant, assignment, quitclaim, or transfer of the ownership of or title to real property, including standing timber, or any estate or interest therein for a valuable consideration, and any contract for such a conveyance, grant, assignment, quitclaim, or transfer, and any lease with an option to purchase real property, including standing timber, or any estate or interest therein or other contract under which possession of the property is given to the purchaser, or any other person at the purchaser's direction, and title to the property is retained by the vendor as security for the payment of the purchase price. The term includes the grant, relinquishment, or assignment of a life estate in property. The term also includes the grant, assignment, quitclaim, sale, or transfer of improvements constructed upon leased land.
(b) The term "sale" also includes the transfer or acquisition within any twelve-month period of a controlling interest in any entity with an interest in real property located in this state for a valuable consideration. For the purposes of this chapter, all acquisitions of persons acting in concert are aggregated for the purpose of determining whether a transfer or acquisition of a controlling interest has taken place.
(c) The term "sale" also applies to successive sales of the same property. An owner of real property is subject to payment of the real estate excise tax upon the entry of each successive contract for the sale of the same parcel of property. For example, Bob owns a house that he sells to Sam on a real estate contract. Real estate excise tax is paid on the transfer from Bob to Sam. Sam makes several payments, until he becomes unemployed. Since Sam can no longer make payments on the property, he conveys it back to Bob. Bob then makes a subsequent sale of the house to Sally. Real estate excise tax is due on the transfer from Bob to Sally. See WAC 458-61A-209 for the tax implications on the conveyance from Sam back to Bob.
(d) The term "sale" does not include:
(i) Those real property transfers that are excluded from the definition of "sale" and exempted from the real estate excise tax under RCW 82.45.010(3) and this chapter, including transfers without valuable consideration.
(ii) The transfer of lots or graves in an established cemetery. An established cemetery is one that meets the requirements for ad valorem property tax exemption under chapter 84.36 RCW.
(iii) The transfer of an interest in real property merely to secure a debt or the assignment of a security interest, release of a security interest, satisfaction of a mortgage, or reconveyance under the terms of a mortgage or deed of trust.
(iv) A deed given to a purchaser under a real estate contract upon fulfillment of the terms of the contract provided that the proper tax was paid on the original transaction. The fulfillment deed must be stamped by the county treasurer as required by WAC 458-61A-301, and the stamp must show the affidavit number of the sale for which the deed is fulfilling.
(v) A qualified sale of a manufactured/mobile home community, as defined in RCW 59.20.030, that takes place on or after June 12, 2008, but before December 31, 2018.
(e) Examples. The following examples, while not exhaustive, illustrate some of the circumstances in which a transfer may or may not be taxable. These examples should be used only as a general guide. The status of each situation must be determined after a review of all of the facts and circumstances.
(i) John paid off his home mortgage and wants to get a loan to make improvements and buy a new car. John obtains an equity loan, secured by his home as collateral. This transaction is not subject to the real estate excise tax.
(ii) Bob purchased real property from Sam pursuant to a real estate contract. Real estate excise tax was paid on the purchase price at the time of the sale. Bob has now paid off the property, and Sam is issuing a fulfillment deed to Bob indicating that the real estate contract has been satisfied. The fulfillment deed from Sam to Bob is not subject to the real estate excise tax.
(iii) Diane has made the final payment on her mortgage, and the bank issues a full reconveyance of her property, indicating that the mortgage is paid in full. The reconveyance is not subject to the real estate excise tax.
(iv) Bill is refinancing his mortgage for a lower interest rate. There is a balloon payment on the new loan that will require that he refinance again in five years. Neither transaction is subject to the real estate excise tax.
(16))) (17) "Seller" means any individual, receiver,
assignee, trustee for a deed of trust, trustee in bankruptcy,
trust, estate, firm, partnership, joint venture, club,
company, joint stock company, limited liability company,
business trust, municipal corporation, quasi municipal
corporation, association, society, or any group of individuals
acting as a unit, whether mutual, cooperative, fraternal,
nonprofit or otherwise, but it does not include the United
States or the state of Washington. The term "grantor" is used
interchangeably with the term "seller" in this chapter and has
the same meaning for purposes of the real estate excise tax.
(17))) (18) "Selling price" means the true and fair
value of the property conveyed. There is a rebuttable
presumption that the true and fair value is equal to the total
consideration paid or contracted to be paid to the seller or
to another person for the seller's benefit.
(a) When the price paid does not accurately reflect the true and fair value of the property, one of the following methods may be used to determine the true and fair value:
(i) A fair market appraisal of the property; or
(ii) An allocation of assets by the seller and the buyer made under section 1060 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
(b) When the true and fair value of the property at the time of sale cannot reasonably be determined by either of the methods in (a) of this subsection, the market value assessment for the property maintained in the county property tax rolls at the time of sale will be used as the selling price. RCW 82.45.030.
(c) When the sale is of a partial interest in real property, the principal balance of any debt remaining unpaid at the time of sale will be multiplied by the percentage of ownership transferred, and that amount added to any other consideration to determine the selling price.
(d) In the case of a lease with option to purchase, the selling price is the true and fair value of the property conveyed at the time the option is exercised.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300, 82.01.060(2), and 82.45.150. 05-23-093, § 458-61A-102, filed 11/16/05, effective 12/17/05.]
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-23-093, filed 11/16/05, effective 12/17/05)
WAC 458-61A-202 Inheritance or devise. (1) Introduction. Transfers of real property by inheritance or devise are not subject to the real estate excise tax. For the purpose of this exemption, it does not matter whether the real property transferred was encumbered by underlying debt at the time it was inherited or devised.
(2) Nonpro rata distributions. A nonpro rata distribution is one in which the transfer of real property to the heirs or devisees may not be in proportion to their interests. For example, Aunt Mary wills her entire estate equally to her three nieces. The estate consists of her primary residence, a cottage at the ocean, and significant cash assets, among other things. Rather than take title to the two parcels of real estate in all three names, the estate may be distributed by deeding the primary residence to Meg, the oceanfront property to Beth, and the majority of the cash assets to Jo. Such distribution by a personal representative of a probated estate or by the trustee of a trust is not subject to the real estate excise tax if the transfer is authorized under the nonintervention powers of a personal representative under RCW 11.68.090 or under the nonpro rata distribution powers of a trustee under RCW 11.98.070(15), if no consideration is given to the personal representative or the trustee for the transfer. For the purpose of this section, consideration does not include the indebtedness balance of any real property that is encumbered by a security lien.
(3) Subsequent transfers. A transfer of property from an heir to a third party is subject to the real estate excise tax. Examples:
(a) Steve inherits real property from his mother's estate. He sells the property to his son for $50,000. The transfer of the property from the estate to Steve is exempt from real estate excise tax. The subsequent sale of the property to his son is a taxable event, and tax is due based upon the full sales price of $50,000.
(b) Susan inherits real property from her father's estate. She decides to sell it to a friend on a real estate contract for $100,000. Tax is due on the $100,000.
(c) Sheri and her two sisters inherit their father's home, valued at $180,000, in equal portions. Sheri wants sole ownership of the home but there are not "in-kind" assets of sufficient value to be distributed by the personal representative to her two sisters in a nonpro rata distribution. In order to take title directly from the personal representative, Sheri pays each of her sisters $60,000, and they quitclaim their right to the property under the will. Tax is due on the total of $120,000 paid for the property.
(4) Community property or right of survivorship. The transfer of real property to a surviving spouse in accordance with a community property agreement or a survivorship clause is not subject to real estate excise tax.
(5) Joint tenants. The transfer of real property upon the death of a joint tenant to the remaining joint tenants under right of survivorship is not subject to the real estate excise tax.
(6) Life estates and remainder interests. The conveyance of a life estate to the grantor with a remainder interest to another party is not a taxable transfer if no consideration passes. For example, Nate and Libby convey their property to their son, Rex, retaining a life estate for themselves. The transaction is not subject to real estate excise tax because Rex pays no consideration. Upon the deaths of Nate and Libby, the title will vest in Rex and no real estate excise tax is due. However, if Nate and Libby convey their property to Rex, retaining a life estate for themselves, and Rex pays any consideration for his future interest, the transaction is taxable. Tax is due on the total consideration paid.
(7) Documentation. In order to claim this exemption, the following documentation must be provided:
(a) Community property agreement. If the property is being transferred under the terms of a community property agreement, copies of the recorded agreement and certified copy of the death certificate;
(b) Trusts. If property is being transferred under the terms of a testamentary trust without probate, a certified copy of the death certificate, and a copy of the trust agreement showing the authority of the grantor;
(c) Probate. In the case of a probated will, a certified copy of the letters testamentary, or in the case of intestate administration, a certified copy of the letters of administration, showing that the grantor is the court appointed executor/executrix or administrator;
(d) Joint tenants and remainder interests. A certified copy of the death certificate is recorded to perfect title;
Other.)) Court order. If the property is being
transferred pursuant to a court order, a certified copy of the
court order requiring the transfer of property, and confirming
that the grantor is required to do so under the terms of the
(f) Other. If the community property interest of the decedent is being transferred to a surviving spouse or surviving domestic partner absent the documentation set forth in (a) through (e) of this subsection, a certified copy of the death certificate and a signed affidavit from the surviving spouse or surviving domestic partner affirming that he or she is the sole and rightful heir of the property.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300, 82.01.060(2), and 82.45.150. 05-23-093, § 458-61A-202, filed 11/16/05, effective 12/17/05.]
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-23-093, filed 11/16/05, effective 12/17/05)
WAC 458-61A-203 Community property, dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership, legal separation, decree of invalidity. (1) Community property. Transfers from one spouse or domestic partner to the other that establish or separate community property are not subject to the real estate excise tax.
(2) Court decree. The real estate excise tax does not apply to any transfer, conveyance, or assignment of property or interest in property from one spouse or domestic partner to the other in fulfillment of a settlement agreement incident to a decree of dissolution, declaration of invalidity, or legal separation.
(3) Transfers to third parties. A sale of real property by either one or both spouses or domestic partners to a third party is subject to the real estate excise tax, regardless of whether the sale is pursuant to the terms of a decree of dissolution, declaration of invalidity, or legal separation.
(4) Former spouses or domestic partners. Transfers of real property between ex-spouses or former domestic partners that are independent of any settlement agreement incident to their decree of dissolution or decree of invalidity are subject to the real estate excise tax, unless otherwise exempt under this chapter.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300, 82.01.060(2), and 82.45.150. 05-23-093, § 458-61A-203, filed 11/16/05, effective 12/17/05.]