Real Estate Transfer Fee Common Questions

Date of Conveyance

  1. What is the difference between "Date Recorded" and "Date of Conveyance"?
  2. How important is it that the "Date of Conveyance" on the eRETR and the date of the deed match?

Deed of Trust

  1. Does a "Deed of Trust" need a transfer return when it is supposed to be similar to a real estate mortgage?

Deeds-Filing

  1. How should a real estate transfer return be completed when the deed lists the person's (or entity's) current name and alternate name or names?
  2. Can a paper PE-500 be used to record any deed?

Deeds-Multiple

  1. Will the Department still accept "one transaction – one return" where the Register of Deeds receives multiple deeds conveying different interests in the same property to the same grantee and there is only one receipt filed?

Developers

  1. Developer (land owner) and builder (improvement owner) are selling to the same party. How many deeds can be used for this conveyance?
  2. What is the Department's position as to value subject to transfer fee on a conveyance of a vacant lot with a contract to construct a building?

Domestic Partners

  1. What information is available for the Domestic Partner Fee Exemption – Sec. 77.25(8n), Wis. Stats.?
  2. Does an employer's extension of benefits to domestic partners qualify a conveyance between domestic partners for an exemption from transfer fee under sec. 77.25(8n), Wis. Stats.?
  3. If a domestic partnership agreement is recorded in the county of primary residence, is a separate domestic partner recording required when placing the names of both domestic partners on the deed of a property located in a different county?

Date of Conveyance

  1. What is the difference between "Date Recorded" and Date of Conveyance?

    The, "Date Recorded" is the date the Register of Deeds records the instrument of conveyance. The "Date of Conveyance" is the date the instrument is signed and delivered per sec. 706.02(1), Wis. Stats. The date recorded and date of conveyance may be the same date if both actions occur on the same day.

  2. How important is it that the "Date of Conveyance" on the eRETR and the date of the deed match?

    The "Date of Conveyance"isthe date the deed is "delivered to the buyer" which has been interpreted as the "date of closing" even though the deed may have been signed on a different date. If the date of closing is changed to a different month or into the next year from what was originally entered, the eRETR "Date of conveyance" must be changed.  For Example:  Tax exempt property is sold from a church to an individual. The deed is signed December 15, 2009, and closing is January 6, 2010. The date of conveyance was entered as December 15, 2009. The tax exempt property was put on tax roll for 2010. The new owner sued and won the case for another year of exemption as "date of closing" was after January 1. A claim for Lottery & Gaming Credit for primary residence is similar to above.  Since the deed is signed on December 15, 2009, and closing is scheduled for January 6, 2010, the property does not qualify as a Primary Residence as of January 1, 2011. Therefore, the Lottery & Gaming Credit would not apply until Jan. 2012.

Deed of Trust

  1. Does a "Deed of Trust" need a transfer return when it is supposed to be similar to a real estate mortgage?

    Yes, A "Deed of Trust" replaces or serves as a mortgage where legal title to real property is placed with a Trustee, and is considered a conveyance. If there is a default, the trustee would convey the property to the lender or successful bidder. This is different from a mortgage since a mortgage is not a conveyance of real property. For a default of a mortgage, a deed conveying the real property interest would have to be given by the borrower or sheriff to the lender or successful bidder. The exemption in sec. 77.25(10), Wis. Stats., applies to "Deeds of Trust" when used in place of a mortgage.

Deeds - Filing

  1. How should a real estate transfer return be completed when the deed lists the person's (or entity's) current name and alternate name or names?

    The eRETR asks for the grantor's or grantee's name. As with a Wisconsin income tax form, we are asking for a "legal name." Anything after "a/k/a" or "f/k/a" is not the grantor's or grantee's legal name and is not required on the transfer return.

  2. Can a paper PE-500 be used to record any deed?

    No, Wis. Stat 77.22(2) requires that all real estate transfer returns be filed electronically.

Deeds - Multiple

  1. Will the Department still accept "one transaction – one return" where the Register of Deeds receives multiple deeds conveying different interests in the same property to the same grantee and there is only one receipt filed?

    No. Each instrument conveying an interest in real estate will require its own eRETR receipt. A portion of the total value of the property conveyed must be allocated to each return. Example: Three (3) siblings sell their individual interests in parcel A  to X. Each sibling will file a separate deed. Each sibling must file a transfer return for their respective interest transferred to X showing one third of the real estate value and the fee calculated on that value.

    The eRETR simplifies the completing of multiple returns that have similar information by making a "template".

Developers

  1. Developer (land owner) and builder (improvement owner) are selling to the same party. How many deeds can be used for this conveyance?

    Either one or two deeds can be used. If only one deed is used then both the developer and the builder are listed as grantors on the deed and the Real Estate Transfer Return. If two deeds are used (one for the developer and one for the land owner) then each has their own respective transfer return. The developer's return will indicate the property type as "land only" on the Physical Description page of the transfer return. The builder's return will indicate the property type as "Other" and provide the explanation of "improvements only".

  2. What is the Department's position as to value subject to transfer fee on a conveyance of a vacant lot with a contract to construct a building?

    The value subject to transfer fee is only the value of the real property at the time of conveyance. The improvement value would be included with the lot value only on that percentage of improvement completed at the time of conveyance. Examples:

    • If there is only a vacant lot with a construction contract – lot only.
    • Improvement is 50% completed - lot plus 50% of the value of the improvement.
    • Improvement is 100% completed - lot plus total value of the improvement.

    Note: This position is in accordance with R & R Development Group, LLC v. Wisconsin Department of Revenue, (CCH) ¶400-407 (WTAC Feb. 11, 1999).

Domestic Partners

  1. What information is available for the Domestic Partner Fee Exemption – Sec. 77.25(8n), Wis. Stats.?

    The 2009 budget bill, 2009 Wisconsin Act 28, created an exemption from transfer fee for conveyances "between an individual and his or her domestic partner under chapter 770." The domestic partner exemption, under sec. 77.25(8n), Wis. Stats., was effective as of July 1, 2009. This exemption does not apply to a conveyance prior to that date. The eRETR's Fee Computation page has been updated to include the domestic partner exemption under sec. 77.25(8n), Wis. Stats. In order to qualify for the domestic partner exemption, is the grantor and grantee must obtain a declaration of domestic partnership as defined in  Chapter 770 prior to the conveyance. Please contact the Department of Health Services for any questions regarding the domestic partner declaration - http://dhs.wisconsin.gov/vitalrecords/

  2. Does an employer's extension of benefits to domestic partners qualify a conveyance between domestic partners for an exemption from transfer fee under sec. 77.25(8n), Wis. Stats.?

    No. In order for a conveyance to qualify for an exemption under sec. 77.25(8n), Wis. Stats., the individuals must comply with sec. 770.07, Wis. Stats. Specifically, a domestic partnership agreement must be recorded with the Register of Deeds in the county of primary residence prior to the date of conveyance.

  3. If a domestic partnership agreement is recorded in the county of primary residence, is a separate domestic partner recording required when placing the names of both domestic partners on the deed of a property located in a different county?

    No. Sec. 770.07, Wis. Stats., requires the declaration of domestic partnership to be made to the clerk of the county where at least one of the individuals has resided for at least 30 days immediately before applying. Sec. 770.10, Wis. Stats., also requires recording the declaration with the Register of Deeds of the county in which they maintain their primary residence.  Once the declaration of domestic partnership has been properly recorded it can be applied in any county in the state.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Equalization Bureau
P.O. Box 8971 MS 6-97
Madison, WI 53708-8971
Phone: (608) 264-6885 or (608) 266-1594
Fax: (608) 264-6897
E-Mail Additional Questions to eretr@revenue.wi.gov

March 21, 2014