(1) Introduction. The real estate excise tax does not apply to any transfer or conveyance made pursuant to an order of sale by a court in any mortgage or lien foreclosure proceeding or upon execution of a judgment. Real estate excise tax affidavits which state claims for this tax exemption must cite the cause number of the foreclosure proceeding on the affidavit and the conveyance document. A copy of the court decision must be attached to the department's affidavit copy by the county treasurer.
(2) Examples. The following examples, while not exhaustive, illustrate some of the circumstances in which a transfer may or may not qualify for this exemption. These examples should be used only as a general guide. The taxability of each transaction must be determined after a review of all the facts and circumstances.
(a) Joan and Sam are friends. They decide to jointly purchase real property worth $100,000 as tenants in common. One year later, they decide to end their co-ownership of the property. Joan and Sam cannot agree on how the property should be divided. They both obtain legal counsel and go to court to resolve the issue. The court orders that Sam will deed his interest in the real property to Joan and Sam will be paid $65,000 for his interest in the property. No real estate excise tax is due on the transfer since the transfer is pursuant to a court ordered sale.
(b) Rather than going to trial, Joan and Sam agree to a settlement during the course of their negotiations. The attorneys draft an agreeable settlement under which Sam will get the property and Joan will be paid $75,000. The settlement agreement is presented to the court and the judge signs off on the agreement. Tax is due on the transfer because this is not a court ordered sale.
(3) Foreclosure and contract forfeiture. The real estate excise tax does not apply to the following transfers where no additional consideration passes:
(a) A transfer by deed in lieu of foreclosure to satisfy a mortgage or deed of trust;
(b) A transfer from a contract purchaser to the contract holder in lieu of forfeiture of a contract of sale upon default of the underlying obligation; or
(c) A transfer occurring through the cancellation or forfeiture of a vendee's interest in a contract for the sale of real property, regardless of whether the contract contains a forfeiture clause, such as a declaration of forfeiture made under the provisions of RCW 61.30.070
(d) Examples. The following examples, while not exhaustive, illustrate some of the circumstances in which a transfer may or may not qualify for this exemption. These examples should be used only as a general guide. The taxability of each transaction must be determined after a review of all the facts and circumstances.
(i) Meg sells real property to Julie on a real estate contract. The contract price is $65,000. Julie makes payments for one year and then loses her job and can't make payments on the contract. Julie feels that she has some equity in the property, but she and Meg disagree on how to resolve the issue. Eventually, they come to an agreement. Meg will pay Julie $1,500; Julie will sign a deed in lieu of forfeiture and transfer the property to Meg. At the time of the deed in lieu of forfeiture, the outstanding balance of the contract was $61,000. Even though the transfer was by a deed in lieu of forfeiture, there is additional consideration passing (the $1,500). The transfer is subject to tax. The taxable selling price is $62,500, which is the total of the outstanding contract balance that was canceled plus the $1,500 paid to Julie.
(ii) Sally sells real property to Frank. Frank obtains a $150,000 loan from Easy Bank. The bank secures the loan with a deed of trust on the real property. Frank is unable to make the payments on the loan. Frank transfers the property back to Easy Bank by deed in lieu of foreclosure to satisfy the deed of trust. No real estate excise tax is due on the transfer.
(iii) Mel sells real property to George. George obtains a $100,000 loan from Zephyr Bank. The bank secures the loan with a deed of trust on the real property. George is unable to make the payments on the loan. George obtains a second loan of $25,000 from Sam. Sam secures his loan with a second deed of trust on the real property. Sam's deed of trust is in junior position to Zephyr Bank's deed of trust. Later, George can't make payments to either the bank or Sam. At this time, George owes the Bank $95,000 and Sam $23,000. George transfers the real property to Sam by deed in lieu of foreclosure to satisfy Sam's junior deed of trust. The debt to Zephyr Bank (the senior position debt) remains unpaid on the property at the time of transfer. The transfer is partially exempt and partially taxable. The deed in lieu of the junior position debt is exempt. The senior position debt to the bank that remains outstanding on the property at the time of the transfer meets the definition of consideration and is subject to tax. Tax would be due on $95,000.
(iv) Joe purchases a manufactured home and has it installed in a mobile home park. Joe signs a contract with the mobile home park owner to pay $300 in monthly rent. If the rent is not paid, the contract states that the park owner has a lien against the manufactured home. Joe is injured and moves in with relatives in another state. Joe does not pay rent for six months. The park owner, takes title to the mobile home under the authority of the rent contract, and puts it up for sale to recover his interest for back rent. The park owner sells the manufactured home to Mimi. No tax is due on the transfer to the park owner, since that transfer was to satisfy a lien on the property. Real estate excise tax is due on the sale to Mimi.
(4) Deed of trust. The real estate excise tax does not apply to the foreclosure sale of real property by the trustee under the terms of a deed of trust, whether to the beneficiary listed on that deed or to a third party.
(5) Assignment of indebtedness. A transfer from a servicing agent, who has acquired real property under this section, to the actual owner of the indebtedness that was foreclosed upon is not subject to real estate excise tax. A copy of the assignment of the indebtedness or a copy of the trustee's deed identifying the servicing agent as an agent for the actual owner must be attached to the real estate excise tax affidavit provided to the department for exemptions claimed under this subsection.
For example, Gil sells real property to Max. Max obtains a $125,000 loan from Zone Finance. The finance company secures the loan with a deed of trust on real property. Zone Finance sells the loan to Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae). The finance company becomes the servicing agent for the loan. Max can't make payments on the loan. Due to nonpayment on the debt, the Trustee (under the authority of the Deed of Trust) conducts a Trustee's sale of the real property. The Trustee transfers the property to the Zone Finance via a Trustee's Deed. No real estate excise tax is due on that transfer. Zone Finance Company transfers real property to Fannie Mae, the actual owner of the debt. No real estate excise tax is due on that transfer.
(6) Sheriff's sale.
(a) Introduction. The real estate excise tax does not apply to a transfer of real property made by a county sheriff pursuant to a court decree. A real estate excise tax affidavit must be filed with the county.
(b) The real estate excise tax applies to a subsequent sale or assignment of the right of redemption and the certificate of purchase that result from the sheriff's sale. The taxable consideration includes any payment given or promised to be given. It also includes the amount of underlying encumbrance, the payment of which is necessary for the exercise of the right of redemption.
(i) Bill sells property to Sam on a contract. After one year, Sam stops making payments on the contract. Bill obtains a judgment against Sam for nonpayment. At the Sheriff's sale, Bill obtains a certificate of purchase. Sam obtains the right of redemption. Sam is unable to make payment to redeem the right of redemption during the redemption period. When the redemption period is over, Bill turns the certificate of purchase over to the Sheriff. The Sheriff issues a Sheriff's Deed to Bill. No real estate tax is due on the issuance of the Sheriff's deed to Bill.
(ii) Alternatively, at the Sheriff's sale, Bill obtains a certificate of purchase. Sam obtains the right of redemption. To exercise the right of redemption, the holder must remit $50,000 to the Sheriff. Sam sells the right of redemption to Jerry for $10,000. Real estate excise tax is due on $60,000 for the transfer of the right of redemption from Sam to Jerry. Jerry exercises the right of redemption by paying $50,000 to the Sheriff. The Sheriff issues a Sheriff's Deed to Jerry. No real estate tax is due on the issuance of the Sheriff's deed to Jerry.
(7) Documentation. In addition to the documentation requirements set forth in subsections (1) and (5) of this section, a copy of the recorded original mortgage, deed of trust, contract of sale, or lien document must be presented with the real estate excise tax affidavit.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300
, 82.01.060(2), and 82.45.150. WSR 05-23-093, § 458-61A-208, filed 11/16/05, effective 12/17/05.]