(1) As used in this chapter, the term "sale" has its ordinary meaning and includes 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 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 also includes the grant, assignment, quitclaim, sale, or transfer of improvements constructed upon leased land.
(2)(a) 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.
(b) For the sole purpose of determining whether, pursuant to the exercise of an option, a controlling interest was transferred or acquired within a twelve-month period, the date that the option agreement was executed is the date on which the transfer or acquisition of the controlling interest is deemed to occur. For all other purposes under this chapter, the date upon which the option is exercised is the date of the transfer or acquisition of the controlling interest.
(c) For purposes of this subsection, all acquisitions of persons acting in concert must be aggregated for purposes of determining whether a transfer or acquisition of a controlling interest has taken place. The department must adopt standards by rule to determine when persons are acting in concert. In adopting a rule for this purpose, the department must consider the following:
(i) Persons must be treated as acting in concert when they have a relationship with each other such that one person influences or controls the actions of another through common ownership; and
(ii) When persons are not commonly owned or controlled, they must be treated as acting in concert only when the unity with which the purchasers have negotiated and will consummate the transfer of ownership interests supports a finding that they are acting as a single entity. If the acquisitions are completely independent, with each purchaser buying without regard to the identity of the other purchasers, then the acquisitions are considered separate acquisitions.
(3) The term "sale" does not include:
(a) A transfer by gift, devise, or inheritance.
(b) A transfer of any leasehold interest other than of the type mentioned above.
(c) A cancellation or forfeiture of a vendee's interest in a contract for the sale of real property, whether or not such contract contains a forfeiture clause, or deed in lieu of foreclosure of a mortgage.
(d) The partition of property by tenants in common by agreement or as the result of a court decree.
(e) The assignment of property or interest in property from one spouse or one domestic partner to the other spouse or other domestic partner in accordance with the terms of a decree of dissolution of marriage or state registered domestic partnership or in fulfillment of a property settlement agreement.
(f) The assignment or other transfer of a vendor's interest in a contract for the sale of real property, even though accompanied by a conveyance of the vendor's interest in the real property involved.
(g) Transfers by appropriation or decree in condemnation proceedings brought by the United States, the state or any political subdivision thereof, or a municipal corporation.
(h) A mortgage or other transfer of an interest in real property merely to secure a debt, or the assignment thereof.
(i) Any transfer or conveyance made pursuant to a deed of trust or an order of sale by the court in any mortgage, deed of trust, or lien foreclosure proceeding or upon execution of a judgment, or deed in lieu of foreclosure to satisfy a mortgage or deed of trust.
(j) A conveyance to the federal housing administration or veterans administration by an authorized mortgagee made pursuant to a contract of insurance or guaranty with the federal housing administration or veterans administration.
(k) A transfer in compliance with the terms of any lease or contract upon which the tax as imposed by this chapter has been paid or where the lease or contract was entered into prior to the date this tax was first imposed.
(l) The sale of any grave or lot in an established cemetery.
(m) A sale by the United States, this state or any political subdivision thereof, or a municipal corporation of this state.
(n) A sale to a regional transit authority or public corporation under RCW 81.112.320 under a sale/leaseback agreement under RCW 81.112.300.
(o) A transfer of real property, however effected, if it consists of a mere change in identity or form of ownership of an entity where there is no change in the beneficial ownership. These include transfers to a corporation or partnership which is wholly owned by the transferor and/or the transferor's spouse or domestic partner or children of the transferor or the transferor's spouse or domestic partner. However, if thereafter such transferee corporation or partnership voluntarily transfers such real property, or such transferor, spouse or domestic partner, or children of the transferor or the transferor's spouse or domestic partner voluntarily transfer stock in the transferee corporation or interest in the transferee partnership capital, as the case may be, to other than (i) the transferor and/or the transferor's spouse or domestic partner or children of the transferor or the transferor's spouse or domestic partner, (ii) a trust having the transferor and/or the transferor's spouse or domestic partner or children of the transferor or the transferor's spouse or domestic partner as the only beneficiaries at the time of the transfer to the trust, or (iii) a corporation or partnership wholly owned by the original transferor and/or the transferor's spouse or domestic partner or children of the transferor or the transferor's spouse or domestic partner, within three years of the original transfer to which this exemption applies, and the tax on the subsequent transfer has not been paid within sixty days of becoming due, excise taxes become due and payable on the original transfer as otherwise provided by law.
(p)(i) A transfer that for federal income tax purposes does not involve the recognition of gain or loss for entity formation, liquidation or dissolution, and reorganization, including but not limited to nonrecognition of gain or loss because of application of 26 U.S.C. Sec. 332, 337, 351, 368(a)(1), 721, or 731 of the internal revenue code of 1986, as amended.
(ii) However, the transfer described in (p)(i) of this subsection cannot be preceded or followed within a twelve-month period by another transfer or series of transfers, that, when combined with the otherwise exempt transfer or transfers described in (p)(i) of this subsection, results in the transfer of a controlling interest in the entity for valuable consideration, and in which one or more persons previously holding a controlling interest in the entity receive cash or property in exchange for any interest the person or persons acting in concert hold in the entity. This subsection (3)(p)(ii) does not apply to that part of the transfer involving property received that is the real property interest that the person or persons originally contributed to the entity or when one or more persons who did not contribute real property or belong to the entity at a time when real property was purchased receive cash or personal property in exchange for that person or persons' interest in the entity. The real estate excise tax under this subsection (3)(p)(ii) is imposed upon the person or persons who previously held a controlling interest in the entity.
(q) 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.
[2010 1st sp.s. c 23 § 207. Prior: 2008 c 116 § 3; 2008 c 6 § 701; 2000 2nd sp.s. c 4 § 26; 1999 c 209 § 2; 1993 sp.s. c 25 § 502; 1981 c 93 § 1; 1970 ex.s. c 65 § 1; 1969 ex.s. c 223 § 28A.45.010; prior: 1955 c 132 § 1; 1953 c 94 § 1; 1951 2nd ex.s. c 19 § 1; 1951 1st ex.s. c 11 § 7. Formerly RCW 28A.45.010, 28.45.010.]
| Effective date -- 2010 1st sp.s. c 23: See note following RCW 82.32.655.|
Findings--Intent -- 2010 1st sp.s. c 23: See notes following RCW 82.04.220.
Findings -- Intent -- Severability -- 2008 c 116: See notes following RCW 59.20.300.
Part headings not law -- Severability -- 2008 c 6: See RCW 26.60.900 and 26.60.901.
Findings -- Construction -- 2000 2nd sp.s. c 4 §§ 18-30: See notes following RCW 81.112.300.
Intent -- 1999 c 209: "In chapter 25, Laws of 1993 sp. sess., the legislature found that transfer of ownership of entities can be equivalent to the sale of real property held by the entity. The legislature further found that all transfers of possession or use of real property should be subject to the same excise tax burdens.
The legislature intended to apply the real estate excise tax of chapter 82.45 RCW to transfers of entity ownership when the transfer of entity ownership is comparable to the sale of real property. The legislature intends to equate the excise tax burdens on all sales of real property and transfers of entity ownership essentially equivalent to a sale of real property under chapter 82.45 RCW." [1999 c 209 § 1.]
Findings -- Intent--1993 sp.s. c 25: "(1) The legislature finds that transfers of ownership of entities may be essentially equivalent to the sale of real property held by the entity. The legislature further finds that all transfers of possession or use of real property should be subject to the same excise tax burdens.
(2) The legislature intends to apply the real estate excise tax of chapter 82.45 RCW to transfers of entity ownership when the transfer of entity ownership is comparable to the sale of real property. The legislature intends to equate the excise tax burdens on all sales of real property and transfers of entity ownership essentially equivalent to a sale of real property under chapter 82.45 RCW." [1993 sp.s. c 25 § 501.]
Severability -- Effective dates--Part headings, captions not law--1993 sp.s. c 25: See notes following RCW 82.04.230.
Effective date -- 1981 c 93 § 2: "Section 2 of this act shall take effect September 1, 1981." [1981 c 93 § 3.]
Effective date -- Severability -- 1970 ex.s. c 65: See notes following RCW 82.03.050.