Paying Stamp Tax When You Sell a Home

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If you’re selling your home in Massachusetts or New Hampshire, it’s a good idea to know the costs upfront so you won’t be surprised at the closing table. Home sellers can expect to pay for such things as deed preparation, and in Massachusetts, a Title V Certificate if there’s a septic system, and a smoke detector certificate.

Many home sellers don’t realize they also have to pay a real estate transfer tax when they sell their home. Most states have some kind of real estate transfer tax. It’s sometimes called a “stamp tax” because years ago an actual embossed stamp had to be placed on the document to show that the tax had been paid. Adhesive stamps are now used on the document. Other names for this tax include deed stamp, excise tax, document stamp, and conveyance tax.

Who Pays the Tax Stamps in MA?

In the state of Massachusetts, tax stamps are a mandatory fee that is collected by the Department of Revenue. The responsibility of paying the tax ultimately falls on the seller in Massachusetts. However, since everything is up for negotiation, it’s important for both the buyer and seller to familiarize themselves with the transfer taxes.

How Much are Tax Stamps in MA?

The price of tax stamps varies per state, region, and county. In Massachusetts, on average it costs $4.56 per $1000 of the sales price. So for example, if you’re selling your home for $500,000, the transfer taxes would be $2,280. However, there are a few counties such as areas on Cape Cod that have a different rate like Barnstable County which charges $6.12 per $1000. When setting aside a budget for selling your home, this is something you’ll want to speak with your real estate agent about to ensure you have all the necessary information.

Who Pays the Tax Stamps in NH?

In New Hampshire, the transfer taxes are handled differently, as they’re typically split evenly between buyers and sellers. The tax is paid to the registry of deeds at the time of the recording of the deed.

How Much are Tax Stamps in NH?

The real estate transfer tax in New Hampshire is usually 1.5% of the fair market value of the property or the purchase price. It can also be calculated as $15 per $1000 total or $7.50 per $1000 for both buyers and sellers. However, if the price of the property is $4,000 or less, the minimum tax imposed will be $20. The cost is determined by the closing agent and is detailed in the settlement statement.

How is the Transfer Tax Paid?

In Massachusetts, the closing attorney will collect on the HUD Settlement Statement and pay the tax for you when they record the Deed at the Registry of Deeds in the county where the property is located. For a full list of the Registry of Deeds offices in Massachusetts, visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website.

In New Hampshire, the closing attorney will collect and pay the tax for you when they record the Deed at the Registry of Deeds in the county where the property is located. Visit the New Hampshire County Registries of Deeds website to find the Registry of Deeds for each county.

Sources:

An Act Relative to the Dukes County Land Bank

Nantucket Land Bank Rules and Regulations

Martha’s Vineyard Rules and Regulations Regarding the Processing of the Land Bank Transfer Fee

New Hampshire Dept. of Revenue

Massachusetts General Laws State Excise Stamp Tax