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PDFWAC 458-61A-303


(1) Introduction. This section explains when a real estate excise tax affidavit is required for the transfer of real property. See WAC 458-61A-101 for procedures pertaining to transfers and acquisitions of a controlling interest in an entity owning real property in the state of Washington.
(2) Affidavit required. In general, an affidavit must be filed when ownership or title to real property transfers as evidenced by conveyance, deed, grant, assignment, quitclaim, or any other document effectuating the transfer including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) Transfer establishing or separating community property, or in fulfillment of a settlement agreement incident to a dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or declaration of invalidity, or in fulfillment of a community property agreement under RCW 26.16.120;
(b) Transfer resulting from a court order;
(c) Transfer to secure a debt;
(d) Transfer of a taxable easement;
(e) A deed in lieu of foreclosure of a mortgage;
(f) A deed in lieu or declaration of forfeiture of a real estate contract;
(g) Transfer to an heir in the settlement of an estate;
(h) Transfer to or from the United States, the state of Washington, or any political subdivision or municipal corporation of this state;
(i) Transfer of development rights, water rights, or air rights;
(j) Transfer of leasehold improvements;
(k) Boundary line adjustments;
(l) Rerecording a document to correct a minor error, such as the legal description or spelling of a name; or
(m) Transfer pursuant to a previously recorded transfer on death deed when the beneficiary(ies) perfect title by recording a certified copy of the transferor's death certificate.
(3) Affidavit not required. The real estate excise tax affidavit is not required nor accepted for the following transactions including, but not limited to:
(a) Transfer of cemetery lots or graves;
(b) Transfer for assignment or release of security, stated on the face of the instrument:
(i) To secure or assign a debt; or
(ii) To provide or release collateral;
(c) A lease of real property that does not transfer lessee-owned improvements;
(d) A mortgage or deed of trust, satisfaction of mortgage, or reconveyance of a deed of trust;
(e) A seller's assignment of deed and contract;
(f) A fulfillment deed pursuant to a real estate contract;
(g) A community property agreement under RCW 26.16.120;
(h) Purchase of an option;
(i) An earnest money agreement;
(j) The recording of a transfer on death deed; or
(k) The revocation of a transfer on death deed.
(4) Examples.
(a) Lionel Construction has developed a group of new homes. It deeds a street to the homeowners' association upon completion of the development. This is done to clear title, which is an exempt transaction. The affidavit should cite the appropriate exemption rule, describe the exemption as "clearing title for street for homeowners' association," and have attached all department-required documentation.
(b) Webb Corporation transfers its interest in a parcel of real property to its wholly owned subsidiary, Watson Company. This is an exempt transaction because there is no change in beneficial ownership of the property. The affidavit must cite the appropriate exemption rule, describe the exemption as "transfer to wholly owned subsidiary; no change in beneficial ownership," and have attached all documentation required by the department.
(c) Amy records a transfer on death deed naming her two children as beneficiaries. No affidavit is required when Amy records the transfer on death deed and no real estate excise tax is due on the transfer. When Amy dies, the transfer on death deed transfers the property to her two children. This is an exempt transaction because the transfer was pursuant to a transfer on death deed, and there was no other consideration on the transfer. However, in order to perfect title, both of Amy's children must sign an affidavit claiming the appropriate exemption (WAC 458-61A-202) and record a certified copy of Amy's death certificate along with the signed affidavit at the county where Amy recorded the transfer on death deed.
(5) Multiple buyers. When the transfer of property is to two or more buyers, the affidavit must clearly state the relationship between them as joint tenants, tenants in common, partners, etc., and identify the form and proportion of interest each is acquiring.
(6) Affidavit must be complete.
(a) Taxpayers must provide complete and accurate information on the affidavit, as well as all documentation required by the department for claimed tax exemptions. Incomplete affidavits will not be accepted.
(b) An affidavit is incomplete if any required information is omitted or obviously incorrect, such as the use of a nominal selling price. A nominal selling price is an amount stated on the affidavit that is so low in comparison with the fair market value assessment stated on the property tax rolls that it would cause disbelief by a reasonable person. In the case of a nominal selling price, the county assessed value will be used as the selling price, unless there is an independent appraisal showing a greater value.
(7) Documentation required when claiming an exemption. Claims of exemption from the real estate excise tax must be specific and include the following:
(a) Current assessed values of parcels involved as of the date of sale; and
(b) Complete reasons for the exemption, including reference to the specific tax exemption in this chapter, citing the specific WAC section and subsection providing the exemption, as well as a brief description of the exemption.
(8) Completion of affidavit. The department will provide a real estate excise tax affidavit to be completed by the taxpayer and filed with the agent of the county where the property is located. Affidavits will be furnished by the department to the county agents and accessible to the public in one or more formats to be determined by the department. Alternative forms may be used, as long as they are in a format accepted by the department.
In most instances, the affidavit must be signed by the seller or the seller's agent and the buyer or the buyer's agent, under oath, certifying that all information on the affidavit is complete and correct. However, an affidavit given in connection with the grant of an easement or right of way to a utility company, public utility district or cooperative, or a governmental entity needs to be signed only on behalf of the entity purchasing the utility right of way or easement. In addition, an affidavit given in connection with the transfer of real property pursuant to a transfer on death deed need only be signed on behalf of the transferor by the designated beneficiary(ies) named in the transfer on death deed.
(9) Duplicate affidavits. To accommodate the requirement that the affidavit be signed by both the seller and buyer, or agents of each, identical affidavits may be submitted for a single transaction, one bearing the seller's or seller's agent's signature and one bearing the buyer's or buyer's agent's signature. Both affidavits must be complete and have identical information. The county agent will receipt one of the affidavits and attach the other affidavit to the receipted affidavit.
(10) Retention of records. The taxpayer must retain all records pertaining to the transaction for a period of at least four years from the date of sale.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.45.150, 82.32.300, and 82.01.060(2). WSR 15-02-018, § 458-61A-303, filed 12/29/14, effective 1/29/15. Statutory Authority: RCW 82.45.150, 82.32.300, and 82.01.060. WSR 14-06-060, § 458-61A-303, 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-303, filed 11/16/05, effective 12/17/05.]
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