Real Estate Transfer Fee Common Questions

Railroads

  1. Do railroad companies need to file railroad conveyances with the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), even if they have filed with the Register of Deeds?
  2. The Register of Deeds returned the quit claim deed and transfer return indicating that pursuant to sec. 190.11, Wis. Stats. railroad conveyances must be filed with the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). Payment of transfer fees are payable to DFI as stated in the statute. Is this true?

Receipts

  1. Can two eRETR receipts be used with one deed?
  2. Under what circumstance can the Register of Deeds reject an eRETR receipt?
  3. A receipt has one grantor listed, while the deed has two. Is this receipt acceptable?
  4. Are middle initials required on the receipt?
  5. A receipt has 13 parcels showing and the deed has 19, how do I know if the return is correct?

Refunds

  1. A transfer fee was paid. The return should have been exempt from fee. How do you apply for a refund?
  2. If the transfer fee is paid in the wrong county, how do you get a refund so the feed can be paid in the correct county?

Relocation Industry

  1. In the relocation industry, companies usually take a deed as the grantee and a deed with no grantee listed. The grantor is paid and moves away. The relocation company puts the property on the market and at a later date sells it to another party and only records the deed to the new grantees. How may transfer fees are due?

Railroads

  1. Do railroad companies need to file railroad conveyances with the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), even if they have filed with the Register of Deeds?

    Yes. According to sec. 190.11, Wis. Stats., "Every conveyance or lease, deed of trust, mortgage or satisfaction… shall be filed with the department of financial institutions…"  If a railroad wants to record a railroad conveyance at both the county and with DFI, a transfer return will be required by each; however, only one transfer fee will be required. If the document is first recorded with the county and the fee paid, then when the document conveying the same property is recorded at DFI, the transfer return is exempt from fee per sec. 77.25(3), Wis. Stats., as confirming a prior recorded document.

  2. The Register of Deeds returned the quit claim deed and transfer return indicating that pursuant to sec. 190.11, Wis. Stats. railroad conveyances must be filed with the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). Payment of transfer fees are payable to DFI as stated in the statute. Is this true?

    Partially. Railroad conveyances must be recorded at DFI, but they may also be recorded at the county register of deeds… It makes no difference whether filing is done first with DFI or the county. Two returns must be completed, the first to be filed being accompanied with the transfer fee and the second claiming Exemption (3) which "confirms … a conveyance previously recorded."  For example, if you choose to record at the county Register of Deeds first, complete the return showing the fee due and pay the transfer fee to the Register of Deeds. After recording, the deed will be sent back to the person indicated on the deed. Then when filing the deed with DFI, a new return must be completed claiming exemption sec. 77.25(3), Wis. Stats., and no fee will be due at that time.  When using Exemption (3), you will need to provide the county's document number on the return for the conveyance with DFI.

Receipts

  1. Can two eRETR Receipts be used with one deed?

    No. For one deed, only one transfer return can be accepted.

  2. Under what circumstances can the Register of Deeds reject an eRETR receipt?

    The Register of Deeds is bound by sec. 77.22(1), Wis. Stats., which requires a real estate transfer return that is properly completed, with fee (if due), in order to accept the conveyance for recording. Registers need to verify that the receipt and the document being recorded are in agreement and reflect the proper county.
    Registers should make sure that all itemsrequiredfor a recording are present. These include the document to be recorded, the eRETR receipt, payment of the transfer fee (if due), and any rental weatherization papers (if needed). The receipt contains a list of the required items for reference.
    Transfer fee amount: If a fee is due, it must be the same as the amount on the check or other method of payment. Note: For some transfers, there may be both a fee and an exemption, if the transfer is partially exempt.
    Date of conveyance: The date listed on the conveyance must be ON or BEFORE the date of recording.  Postdated conveyances should not be accepted.
    Grantors and grantees: All grantors and grantees that are listed on the document must be listed on the receipt. An exception is a husband and wife with the same last name, as to whom the return may have both first names in the first name box, and only one Social Security Number is required. 
    Parcels: All parcels that are listed on the document are listed on the receipt. When there are five or fewer parcels, each must be listed in a separate parcel section (Add Parcel). When there are more than five, the first five must be listed separately under "Parcels"; and the remainder may be listed separately here or listed under the "Short legal description." Parcel numbers are required on the return.  If a county does not require parcel numbers on the document, verification of the property is accomplished by using the legal description.

    The receipt must be rejectedif any information on the receipt has been changed in any way.  Changing information on the receipt creates an inconsistency with the information on the eRETR.

    Criteria for an Electronic Real Estate Transfer Return (eRETR) are listed here:http://www.revenue.wi.gov/pubs/slf/pe100e.html

  3. A receipt has one grantor listed, while the deed has two. Is this receipt acceptable?

    No. All grantors and grantees named on the document must be on the receipt.

    Exception: Husband and wife with the same last name may have both first names in the first name box. Only one Social Security Number is required

  4. Are middle initials required on the receipt?

    No. Middle initials are not a required entry field and do not have to be on the receipt. However, if listed on both documents (deed and receipt), the entries should match.

  5. A receipt has 13 parcels showing and the deed has 19, how do I know if the return is correct?

    The receipt is designed to print one page only. If there are large numbers of grantors, grantees or parcels (these sections have the "add" button), not all parcels may show on the eRETR receipt.  If the conveyance includes more than 5 parcels, the preparer must enter at least 5 parcels on the Parcel section and enter the remainder in the Legal Description box. If the correct parcels are listed, enter the recording information.  If the parcel listing is not correct, contact the preparer for a new receipt that has all 19 parcels included.

Refunds

  1. A transfer fee was paid. The return should have been exempt from fee.  How do you apply for a refund?

    Complete a PE-500X "Amended Real Estate Transfer Return"
    You will need to print and mail the amended eRETR along with:

    • A copy of the recorded deed.
    • Information supporting the exemption claimed on the amended transfer return.
    • Name or names the refund should be made out to.

    Example: you recorded a deed and paid transfer tax on the full value of the property.  You now claim Exemption (8) as a gift between parent and child.  You would need to submit a copy of the deed, evidence of the parent-child relationship, and a copy of Form 709, United States Gift Tax Return to show that the conveyance was a gift without consideration.

  2. If a transfer fee is paid in the wrong county, how do you get a refund so the fee can be paid in the correct county?

    A full refund of the transfer fee paid will be issued by the county where the deed was incorrectly recorded. This improperly paid transfer fee to this county is not remitted to the state by the county treasurer since there is no transfer return recorded for this incorrect county. Note: The recording fees paid to the incorrect county are not refundable.

Relocation Industry

  1. In the relocation industry, companies usually take a deed as the grantee and a deed with no grantee listed. The grantor is paid and moves away. The relocation company puts the property on the market and at a later date sells it to another party and only records the deed to the new grantees. How may transfer fees are due?

    One transfer fee is due. Since the relocation company does not record the deed to itself, DOR will not charge a second fee. The transfer to the relocation company is clearly a conveyance, but since the deed is not recorded there is no transfer fee due under state law (sec. 77.22(1), Wis. Stats.).

    Note: If the relocation company records the deed to itself and at a later date sells the property to a 3rd party, two transfer fees are due (both deeds are subject to a transfer fee). The second deed from the relocation company to a 3rd party does not qualify for the use of exemption 9 (agent to principal) since the relocation company did not buy this property as an agent for the 3rd party.

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

Page last updated March 21, 2014