State & Local Tax: Controlling Interest Transfer Tax

Share this Article
Facebook Icon LinkedIn Icon Twitter Icon

Freeman Law is a tax, white-collar, and litigation boutique law firm. We offer unique and valued counsel, insight, and experience. Our firm is where clients turn when the stakes are high and the issues are complex.

Do you own an entity that holds real estate?  Are you thinking about selling real estate?  Are you considering selling the real estate asset or selling the entity that owns the real estate?

Generally, a real estate transfer tax is imposed on documents that convey an interest in real estate from one person to another person. The transfer tax, generally, is imposed on the recordation of a deed and is based on the consideration paid or the fair market value of the property (the “Real Estate Transfer Tax”).

Taxpayers utilized loopholes to avoid paying the Real Estate Transfer Tax, by selling the entity that owns the real estate instead of selling the real estate itself.  Approximately 17 states have closed such loopholes.

The 17 states are: Connecticut, Maine, Washington, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, Delaware, California, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont

Generally, the laws state that a controlling interest transfer tax is imposed on a direct or indirect transfer or acquisition of a controlling interest in an entity with title to real estate in the state. The tax rate is applied to the value of the property transferred apportioned by the percentage of the ownership interest transferred.

Taxpayers considering stock acquisitions, or other mergers or reorganizations, of entities that own real estate should be particularly aware of the exposure as a result of not paying a controlling interest transfer tax.  Even if a merger qualifies as a tax-deferred reorganization under the federal tax code, a controlling interest transfer tax may be imposed if the transfer represents ownership change in an entity holding real estate and there is no applicable exemption.

The scope of the controlling interest transfer tax varies from state to state, such as tax rates, applicable exemptions, and the meaning of “transfer of control.”  If you are considering selling or purchasing an entity that owns real estate or reorganizing your corporate structure, you must analyze whether the transaction will be subject to a controlling interest transfer tax.

Freeman Law can help taxpayers analyze whether a controlling interest transfer tax would be subject to a certain transaction.


State and Local Tax Services 

Freeman Law works with tax clients across all industries, including manufacturing, services, technology, oil and gas, financial services, and real estate. State and local tax laws and rules are complex and vary from state to state. As states confront budgetary deficits due to declining tax revenues and increased government spending, tax authorities aggressively enforce state tax laws to recapture lost revenues. 

At Freeman Law, our experienced attorneys regularly guide our clients through complex state and local tax issues—issues that are frequently changing as states seek to keep pace with technology and the evolution of business. Staying ahead requires sophisticated legal counsel dedicated to understanding the complex state tax issues that confront businesses and individuals. Schedule a consultation or call (214) 984-3000 to discuss your local & state tax concerns and questions.