What Is the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax?

The Florida Documentary Stamp Tax is a both buyer and seller closing cost in the state of Florida. The Florida Documentary Stamp Tax is levied both on deeds, customarily paid by sellers, as well as on mortgages, typically paid by buyers.

For sellers, the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax rate is 0.7% of the total consideration in all Florida counties except Miami-Dade. In Miami-Dade county, the tax rate is 0.6% on single-family home sales and 1.05% on anything else. The Florida Documentary Stamp Tax is the Florida equivalent of NYC and NYS Transfer Taxes.

For buyers, the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax rate is 0.35% of the mortgage loan amount. Someone buying a $2,000,000 home in Miami with a $1,600,000 mortgage will pay 0.35% x $1,600,000 or $5,600 in stamp tax. The Florida Documentary Stamp Tax is effectively Florida’s version of the NYC Mortgage Recording Tax.

The Florida Documentary Stamp Tax is authorized under Florida Statutes, Chapter 201: Excise Tax on Documents.

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How much is the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax for sellers?

For Florida sellers outside of Miami-Dade county, the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax rate is 0.7% (i.e. $.70 per $100 or portion thereof) of the total consideration paid, or to be paid, for the transfer.

There are two tax rates for sellers within Miami-Dade county:

  • 0.6% on single-family homes

  • 1.05% on all other property types

In order to calculate the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax, be sure to round up the sale price to the nearest $100 prior to multiplying by the applicable tax rate.

For example, let’s say you’re selling a single-family home in Miami-Dade County and the sale price is $500,051. Rounding up to the nearest 100 gives us $500,100.

The Florida Documentary Stamp Tax is a closing cost levied both on deeds, paid by sellers, as well as on mortgages, paid by buyers.

We would then multiply $500,100 by the applicable tax rate of 0.6%, which gives us a Florida Documentary Stamp Tax amount of $3,000.60.

According to the Florida Department of Revenue, consideration generally consists of:

  • Money paid or to be paid

  • Discharge of an obligation

  • Mortgage or other lien encumbering the property

  • Exchange of property

  • Any other monetary consideration or consideration which has value

Moreover, “when the consideration paid or exchanged for real property is property other than money, the consideration is equal to the fair market value of the real property.”

For example, let’s say you exchange a vacant plot of land in Broward County which is worth $105,000 for a car. The taxable consideration for this non-monetary transfer is fair market value of the land ($105,000).

How much is the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax for buyers?

The Florida Documentary Stamp Tax rate for buyers is 0.35% of the mortgage loan amount. If you’re paying all cash, no stamp tax is payable since there’s no mortgage.

In addition to the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax, Florida home buyers who are financing must also pay the Florida Nonrecurring Intangible Tax.

The Florida Intangible Tax is a buyer closing cost which is 0.2% of the mortgage amount.

What types of transactions does the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax apply to?

The Florida Documentary Stamp Tax applies to deeds, bonds, notes and other written obligations to pay as well as mortgages, liens and other evidences of indebtedness.

The Florida Documentary Stamp Tax is payable on all of the following transfers of interest in real property:

  • Warranty deeds

  • Quit claim deeds

  • Contracts for timber, gas, oil, or mineral rights

  • Easements

  • Contracts or agreements for deed

  • Assignments of contract or agreement for deed

  • Assignments of leasehold interest

  • Assignments of beneficial interest in a trust

  • Deeds in lieu of foreclosure

(c) The tenant may not sublet a housing accommodation for more than a total of two years, including the term of the proposed sublease, out of the four-year period preceding the termination date of the proposed sublease. The term of proposed sublease may, if lawful under this section, extend beyond the term of the tenant’s lease, and an owner may not refuse consent to a sublease solely because it extends beyond such term. A sublease which so extends shall be subject to the tenant’s right to a renewal lease.

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Who pays the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax?

Sellers are typically responsible for paying the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax on the deed, while buyers who are financing usually foot the stamp tax bill on the mortgage itself.

Who pays specific closing costs is outlined in Section 9 of the standard “AS IS” Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase approved by the Florida Realtors and the Florida Bar, which is a commonly used contract for Florida real estate transactions:

9. CLOSING COSTS; TITLE INSURANCE; SURVEY; HOME WARRANTY; SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS:

(a) COSTS TO BE PAID BY SELLER:

  • Documentary stamp taxes and surtax on deed, if any

  • Owner’s Policy and Charges (if Paragraph 9(c)(i) is checked)

  • Title search charges (if Paragraph 9(c)(iii) is checked)

  • Municipal lien search (if Paragraph 9(c)(i) or (iii) is checked)

  • HOA/Condominium Association estoppel fees

  • Recording and other fees needed to cure title

  • Seller’s attorneys’ fees

  • Other: _______________________

  • If, prior to Closing, Seller is unable to meet the AS IS Maintenance Requirement as required by Paragraph 11 133 a sum equal to 125% of estimated costs to meet the AS IS Maintenance Requirement shall be escrowed at 134 Closing. If actual costs to meet the AS IS Maintenance Requirement exceed escrowed amount, Seller shall pay 135 such actual costs. Any unused portion of escrowed amount(s) shall be returned to Seller.

(b) COSTS TO BE PAID BY BUYER:

  • Taxes and recording fees on notes and mortgages Loan expenses

  • Recording fees for deed and financing statements

  • Owner’s Policy and Charges (if Paragraph 9(c)(ii) is checked)

  • Survey (and elevation certification, if required)

  • Lender’s title policy and endorsements

  • HOA/Condominium Association application/transfer fees

  • Municipal lien search (if Paragraph 9(c)(ii) is checked)

  • Loan expenses

  • Appraisal fees

  • Buyer’s Inspections

  • Buyer’s attorneys’ fees

  • All property related insurance

  • Owner’s Policy Premium (if Paragraph 9 (c)(iii) is checked.)

Notwithstanding the norms outlined above, a buyer and seller can negotiate who is responsible for paying the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax if both parties are so inclined.

In the case of new construction, it’s not uncommon for the developer to ask the purchaser to cover the stamp tax.

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How to avoid the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax

One way to reduce the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax as a seller is to apportion some amount of the purchase price to any personal belongings such as furniture which may be included as part of the sale.

Let’s say you’re selling a $2,000,000 home in Martin County. You are selling the home with approximately $100,000 of furniture. In this case, you could consider reducing the purchase price to $1,900,000. This would reduce the stamp tax by $700 (0.7% of $100,000).

However, there are several risks to this strategy which may not make it worthwhile. First and foremost, your buyer’s lender may have an issue with the lower contract price since it will increase the loan-to-value ratio on the loan. There’s no point in trying to save $700 if it results in your buyer being unable to obtain financing.

In addition, you will likely need to have the furniture professionally appraised in order to have a defensible paper trial in the event that the Florida Department of Revenue starts asking questions. The cost of the appraisal will likely match or exceed the amount of savings derived from the strategy in the first place.

There are also a handful of exemptions to the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax. Both marital transfers of homestead property and the transfer of a marital home as a part of a divorce are both exempt from stamp tax.

In addition, the following entities do not have to pay the stamp tax in Florida:

  • US government agencies

  • Florida government agencies

  • Florida counties, municipalities and political subdivisions

If a government entity is buying from or selling to a non-exempt party, the latter is responsible for paying the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax on the transaction.

There are several additional stamp tax exemptions as outlined in Rule 12B-4.014, Florida Administrative Code:

12B-4.014 Conveyances Not Subject to Tax.

(1) Security for Debt: The reconveyance of realty conveyed to secure a debt upon payment of such debt is not taxable.

(2) No Consideration:

(a) A conveyance of unencumbered realty as a gift is not taxable.

(b) A deed of conveyance reciting a consideration such as “love and affection and $1,” “desire to promote welfare and $1,” or “$1 and other valuable consideration,” requires at least the minimum tax.

(3) To Correct Error: Where a conveyance is made to correct a deficiency in a previous deed on which the tax has been paid, only minimum tax is required. (1933 Op. Att’y. Gen. Fla. 1933-34 Biennial Report, Page 50 (April 7, 1933); Letter from the Att’y. Gen. Fla. to State Comptroller (Dec. 10, 1962))

(4) Personal Representative’s Deed: A deed given by a personal representative in accordance with the terms of a will is not taxable, including any term of the will that authorizes the personal representative to allocate and convey different parcels to different devisees instead of conveying undivided interests in each parcel. However, if a devisee takes a greater share in the realty than that to which the devisee is entitled under the will, the deed given by the personal representative to convey such greater share is subject to a tax computed upon the amount of any consideration given.

(5) Agent to Principal: A deed from an agent to his principal conveying real estate purchased for and with funds of the principal is not taxable.

(6) Partition Deed: Partition deed is not taxable, unless for consideration, some of the parties take shares greater in value than their undivided interest, in which event a tax attaches to each deed conveying such greater share computed upon the consideration for the excess. Where the property being partitioned is subject to a mortgage, tax shall be based on the mortgage balance in proportion to the identical interest which the grantor held in the property as of the date of transfer.

(7) Leases of Real Property: Leases wherein considerations passing to lessors are lessee’s promises in future to pay rent are not subject to documentary stamp tax imposed since considerations passing to lessors are executory. (DeVore v. Gay, 39 So. 2d 796 (Fla. 1949))

Cross Reference – subsection 12B-4.013(24), F.A.C.

(8) United States to Non-Exempt Party: The United States or its agencies are exempt from payment of the tax and unless the instrument is exempted by any state or federal law, the required tax is the responsibility of the non-exempt party.

Cross Reference – subsection 12B-4.002(2), F.A.C.

(9) Mortgagee to United States; Contract of Guaranty: Conveyance from bank, savings and loan association or other mortgagee to federal agency pursuant to a contract of guaranty is not taxable. (1961 Op. Att’y. Gen. Fla. 061-46 (Mar. 14, 1961); 1961 Op. Att’y. Gen. Fla. 061-84 (May 19, 1961); 1961 Op. Att’y. Gen. Fla. 061-122 (Aug. 1, 1961))

(10) Conveyances Between Governmental Agencies: Conveyances from federal or state agencies or their instrumentalities to another agency or instrumentality of the state or federal government are not taxable. (1931 Op. Att’y. Gen. Fla. 1931-32 Biennial Report, Page 892 (Dec. 16, 1931); 1936 Op. Att’y. Gen. Fla. 1935-36 Biennial Report, Page 29 (Apr. 10, 1936))

Cross Reference – subsection 12B-4.002(4), F.A.C.

(11) Conveyances Exempted by United States Code: Conveyances to the United States or its agencies or its instrumentalities when exempted from tax by the United States Code are not taxable. (1931 Op. Att’y. Gen. Fla. 1931-32 Biennial Report, Page 281 (Nov. 9, 1931); 1947 Op. Att’y. Gen. Fla. 047-164 (June 11, 1947))

Cross Reference – paragraph 12B-4.002(2)(a), F.A.C.

(12) Cancellation of Non-Recourse Agreement for Deed: Quit claim deeds from a buyer to a seller for failure to make payments under a contract for deed where the buyer is not entitled to possession until he completes all the payments and has no personal liability upon default, are not subject to tax.

(13) Eminent Domain Proceeding: Judgments and decrees in eminent domain proceedings by which title to real property is vested in a condemner are not subject to documentary stamp tax. Also a deed given to a governmental entity under threat of condemnation or as a part of an out-of-court settlement of condemnation proceedings is not subject to tax. Cross Reference – subsection 12B-4.013(4), F.A.C.

(14) An assignment, transfer, or other disposition of real property from a nonprofit organization, as defined in Section 201.02(6), F.S., to any state agency, water management district, or local government is exempt from tax. The exempt status of the document must be indicated by affixing the statement that is provided in label format on Form DR-229. (Documentary Stamp Tax – Section 201.02(6), F.S., Exemption, incorporated by reference in Rule 12B-4.003, F.A.C.)

(15) Confirmed Bankruptcy Plan: A document that transfers an interest in Florida real property pursuant to a Chapter 11 plan that was confirmed under Section 1129 of the Bankruptcy Code (Title 11 U.S.C.) prior to the date of the transfer is not taxable. A document that transfers Florida real property prior to confirmation of the bankruptcy plan is subject to tax. (11 U.S.C. Section 1146(a); Florida Department of Revenue v. Piccadilly Cafeterias, Inc. 554 U.S 33 (2008))

Rulemaking Authority 201.11, 213.06(1) FS. Law Implemented 201.01, 201.02 FS. History–New 8-18-73, Formerly 12A-4.14, Amended 2-21-77, 12-26-77, 12-23-80, Formerly 12B-4.14, Amended 12-5-89, 6-4-90, 2-13-91, 2-16-93, 10-18-94, 12-30-97, 1-4-01, 4-14-09, 7-30-13.

Does the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax apply to marital transfers?

Certain types of real estate transfers between spouses and former spouses are exempt under Florida Statutes, Chapter 201.02, Sections (7)(a) and (7)(b).

The transfer of homestead property (or any interest thereof) between spouses is exempt from stamp tax provided that the only consideration for the transfer or conveyance is the amount of a mortgage or other lien encumbering the homestead property at the time of the transfer or conveyance.

This is outlined in Florida Statues, Chapter 201.02, Section (7)(b):

Chapter 201: EXCISE TAX ON DOCUMENTS

201.02. Tax on deeds and other instruments relating to real property or interests in real property.

(7) Taxes imposed by this section do not apply to:

(b) A deed or other instrument that transfers or conveys homestead property or any interest in homestead property between spouses, if the only consideration for the transfer or conveyance is the amount of a mortgage or other lien encumbering the homestead property at the time of the transfer or conveyance. This paragraph applies to transfers or conveyances from one spouse to another, from one spouse to both spouses, or from both spouses to one spouse. For the purpose of this paragraph, the term “homestead property” has the same meaning as the term “homestead” as defined in s. 192.001.

Note that this exemption does not apply to transfers of homestead property to another form of ownership, such as a revocable trust.

In the case of divorce, a deed, transfer, or conveyance of a marital home is exempt from stamp tax, pursuant to Florida Statues, Chapter 201.02, Section (7)(a):

(a) A deed, transfer, or conveyance between spouses or former spouses pursuant to an action for dissolution of their marriage wherein the real property is or was their marital home or an interest therein. Taxes paid pursuant to this section shall be refunded in those cases in which a deed, transfer, or conveyance occurred 1 year before a dissolution of marriage. This paragraph applies in spite of any consideration as defined in subsection (1). This paragraph does not apply to a deed, transfer, or conveyance executed before July 1, 1997.

Disclosure: Hauseit® and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. No representation, guarantee or warranty of any kind is made regarding the completeness or accuracy of information provided.

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