Friday, March 12, 2010

MAR transfer tax on real estate sales

Say and no to a transfer tax on real estate sales

Yet another tax on real estate transfers is double taxation. A petition drive to prohibit the tax would protect buyers and sellers from additional expense.

With deficit budgets and declining revenues, legislators are looking for new sources of revenue and a transfer tax on real estate sales is potentially viable. The Missouri Association of REALTORS® (MAR) is working proactively to prohibit such a tax in Missouri by sponsoring a grassroots petition drive to place a state constitutional amendment on the November ballot prohibiting such a tax.

A transfer tax is a tax levied by a governmental entity when ownership of a home, land or other real estate properties. When the tax is approved by legislators, the rate can be increased without a popular vote.

Homeowners already pay property taxes and Realtors consider a transfer tax as double taxation. The tax would also lower homeowner equity, negatively affect the buying and selling process, and target property owners and lower income residents equally.

To engage public support and encourage Missourians to sign the petition, the MAR website is a convenient way to learn more about this initiative and register your support for no tax transfer fees. The group needs more 157,000 signatures from registered voters to place the amendment on the November ballot.

Here is the proposed amendment: "Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to prevent the state, counties, and other political subdivisions from imposing any new tax, including a sales tax, on the sale or transfer of homes or any other real estate?"

Because of the wording required by the Missouri Secretary of State, a vote of “yes” is necessary to pass the amendment. When it comes to tax increases, voters are used to a “no” response, but in this case that would be a vote for transfer taxes.

The past few years have been difficult at best for Missourians and additional taxation will only have a negative impact. Thirty-seven states have a transfer tax; Missouri Realtors want to head off taxation in this state so as not to be the 38th state.

Written by Myra Vandersall

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