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PDFWAC 458-61A-214


(1) Introduction. This rule describes the application of the real estate excise tax in transfers involving a nominee. A "nominee" is a person who acts as an agent on behalf of another person in the purchase of real property.
(2) Initial acquisition. The initial acquisition of property by a nominee on behalf of a third party is subject to the real estate excise tax.
(3) Subsequent transfer. The later transfer of the property by the nominee to the third party purchaser is subject to real estate excise tax, unless each of the following requirements is met:
(a) The proper tax was paid on the initial purchase of the property by the nominee;
(b) The funds used by the nominee to acquire the property were provided by the third party;
(c) The third party legally existed at the time of the initial transaction; and
(d)(i) The subsequent transfer from the nominee to the third party is not for a greater consideration than that of the initial acquisition; or
(ii) In the case where the nominee is a licensed contractor and the subsequent transfer to the third party (customer) reflects the completed construction contract, the retail sales tax is collected on the construction contract and remitted to the department. See also WAC 458-61A-104.
For example, Sara finds a home to buy. However, she is in the military and has learned she is going to be called to duty out of the country. She gives her money for the home purchase to Tom, who finalizes the purchase and obtains the mortgage in his name. Sara pays the down payment, closing costs, and makes all the payments on the mortgage. When Sara returns from duty, Tom will transfer the home back to her, and she will refinance the mortgage into her own name. Tom's transfer to Sara is exempt from real estate excise tax, as Tom was acting as her nominee in the purchase of the home and all funds associated with the purchase of the home have come from Sara.
(4) If the nominee is a licensed contractor transferring to the third-party principal at the completion of a construction contract, proof of the payment to the department of retail sales tax on the construction contract must be attached to the affidavit.
For example, Bill contracted with Phil's Construction to build a home for him on a lot Phil will acquire. Phil buys a lot from Kevin. Real estate excise tax is paid on the sale from Kevin to Phil. Phil's Construction builds the home and collects retail sales tax on the total construction contract, which is then remitted to the department of revenue. Phil's Construction files a real estate excise tax affidavit with the county, together with proof that retail sales tax has been paid. The transfer of the lot and completed home from Phil's Construction to Bill is exempt from real estate excise tax.
(5) Documentation. The parties must provide documentation that they have met all the requirements necessary to claim this exemption. Acceptable documentation includes a notarized statement, dated on or before the date of the initial purchase, that the nominee acquired the property on behalf of the third party, or other documentation clearly demonstrating the requirements of subsection (3) of this section have been satisfied. Such documentation may include, but is not limited to, financial documentation evidencing the nominee/third-party relationship existed from the time of the original transfer, and confirming the source of the funds used to purchase the property.
(a) Tom is on title to property. Tom wants to transfer the property to Angie and claim the nominee exemption, but they do not have a notarized statement. In lieu of that statement, Angie presents documentation that she provided the funds for the down payment and all closing costs for the initial purchase of the property. Angie also presents documentation that she provided the funds on the first year's payments on the debt after the initial purchase and provided funds for the last year's payments on the debt. This is acceptable documentation that the requirements of subsection (3) of this section have been satisfied.
(b) Dan wants to buy a house and executes an earnest money agreement, contingent on financing. When he applies for a mortgage he is turned down because of insufficient credit. Dan's Uncle Bob agrees to purchase the house in his name and loans Dan the down payment of $10,000. Dan signs a promissory note agreeing to repay Uncle Bob. Dan makes all the mortgage payments on the property. After two years, Dan has sufficient credit to refinance the debt in his own name. Uncle Bob quitclaims title to Dan. This transfer meets the nominee exemption requirements because:
(i) Real estate excise tax was paid on the initial transaction;
(ii) The signed earnest money agreement shows Dan's initial intent to purchase the property in his name;
(iii) Dan has made all the payments on the debt; and
(iv) The signed promissory note is sufficient evidence Uncle Bob did not intend to have a financial interest in the property.
(6) The affidavit reflecting the claim for tax exemption must show the prior affidavit and number and date of the tax payment.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300, 82.01.060(2), and 82.45.150. WSR 05-23-093, ยง 458-61A-214, filed 11/16/05, effective 12/17/05.]
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