Thursday, October 18, 2012

Release of interest in trust as taxable event

Here's a sanitized version of a document that was presented to us for recording a few days ago:

In consideration of $30,000 received, I hereby relinquish my rights in the property located at 360 Gorham Street, Lowell deeded as "The Gorham Realty Trust" to John Doe.

It was signed and notarized and there was a trust by that name previously recorded here.  We ended up calling the document a "release" which incurred a $75 recording fee, but we also charged a deeds excise tax on it since it was the sale of an interest in property.  Based on the $30,000 consideration stated, the tax was $136.80. 

While tax stamps are almost always generated as a consequence of a deed being recorded, this is an example of how tax stamps can arise with other documents.  One that happens occasionally is with an easement that's granted for consideration.  We have also had cases of customers purchasing tax stamps without recording any document.  In such a case, the person purchasing the stamp was handling the sale of an interest, typically in a trust, but did not wish the document that memorialized the sale to be recorded, but recording the document is not what imposes tax liability; that comes with the sale of the asset regardless of recording. 

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