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PDFWAC 458-61A-210

Irrevocable trusts.

(1) Introduction. The distribution of real property to the beneficiaries of an irrevocable trust is not subject to the real estate excise tax if no valuable consideration is given for the transfer and the distribution is made according to the trust instrument.
(2) Transfer into trust. A transfer of real property to an irrevocable trust is subject to the real estate excise tax if:
(a) The transfer results in a change in the beneficial interest and not a mere change in identity or ownership; and
(b) There is valuable consideration for the transfer.
(3) Examples. The following examples, while not exhaustive, illustrate some of the circumstances in which a transfer of real property to a trust may or may not be exempt from real estate excise tax. The status of each situation must be determined after a review of all the facts and circumstances.
(a) Example 1. Eric and Annie, husband and wife, transfer real property valued at $500,000 to an irrevocable trust. The property has an underlying debt of $300,000 that is secured by a deed of trust. Under the terms of the trust, the trustee is required to pay all the income annually to the grantors (Eric and Annie), or to the survivor if one of them dies. Upon the death of both Eric and Annie, the property will be divided equally among their children. The conveyance of the property into the trust is not subject to the real estate excise tax, even if the trust pays the indebtedness, because there has been no change in the present beneficial interest, and Eric and Annie did not receive consideration for the transfer.
(b) Example 2. Jim and Jean, husband and wife, own real property valued at $800,000. Upon Jean's death, her one-half interest in the property is transferred to Jean's testamentary trust under the terms of her will. Jim, as trustee, has sole discretion to accumulate income or to pay income to himself, or to their children, or to their grandchildren, or to each. The transfer to the trust is not subject to real estate excise tax. See WAC 458-61A-202.
(c) Example 3. Same facts as in Example 2, but upon Jean's death, Jim's remaining half-interest in the property is valued at $400,000, with an underlying debt of $30,000, for which he is personally liable. Jim transfers his half-interest to Jean's testamentary trust, and the trust pays or is obligated to pay the indebtedness. The conveyance of Jim's one-half interest is subject to real estate excise tax, because the transfer involves both a present change in the beneficial interest (after Jean's death, assets in Jean's trust are legally separate from assets belonging to Jim) and there is valuable consideration in the form of relief of liability for the debt. The real estate excise tax is due on the amount of the consideration ($30,000).
(4) Revocable trusts. See WAC 458-61A-211 for the taxability of transfers into a revocable trust.
(5) Documentation. When real property is transferred to or from a testamentary trust, or real property is transferred to or from an irrevocable trust, the following must be available to the department upon request, and provided to the county treasurer and recorded with the county auditor:
(a) A certified copy of the death certificate and a copy of that portion of the trust instrument showing the authority of the grantor; or
(b) A statement signed by the trustee or the grantor, or the representative of the trustee or grantor containing the following information:
(i) The name, address, and telephone number of the trustee or grantor, and/or representative of the trustee or grantor who is authorized to represent the trustee or grantor before the department of revenue;
(ii) The character of the trust, e.g., testamentary, irrevocable living trust, etc.;
(iii) The nature of the transfer:
(A) If the transfer is to or from a testamentary trust, the nature of and reason for the transfer.
(B) If the transfer is to or from an irrevocable living trust:
(I) The nature and reason for the transfer;
(II) Whether or not the property is encumbered with debt; and
(III) Whether or not the trustee may, at the time of the transfer, distribute income and/or principal to a person(s) other than the grantor(s).
[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.45.150 and 82.01.060(2). WSR 17-04-042, § 458-61A-210, filed 1/25/17, effective 2/25/17. Statutory Authority: RCW 82.45.150, 82.32.300, and 82.01.060. WSR 14-06-060, § 458-61A-210, filed 2/28/14, effective 3/31/14. Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300, 82.01.060(2), and 82.45.150. WSR 05-23-093, § 458-61A-210, filed 11/16/05, effective 12/17/05.]
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