Amendment #69 to H.3382

An Amendment to Prevent Deeds Excise Avoidance

Mr. Collins of Boston move that the bill be amended by inserting the following section:-



SECTION XX. Chapter 64D of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out sections 1 to 2, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following 2 sections:-

Section 1. (a) There shall be levied, collected and paid the excise specified in this section on each conveyance of real property located in the commonwealth or interest in real property located in the commonwealth: when the consideration for the interest or property conveyed, exclusive of the value of any lien or encumbrance remaining on the interest or property at the time of the sale, exceeds $100 and does not exceed $500, $2; and for each additional $500 or fractional part thereof, $2, but in Barnstable county, the excise specified in this section shall be $1.50 for each $500 or fractional part of the consideration, excluding a consideration of between $0 and $100 dollars. The excise shall be payable at the registry of deeds in the county in which the real property lies, regardless of whether the conveyance is evidenced by a deed, instrument, or other writing or whether the deed, instrument, or other writing is otherwise recorded. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section or any other general or special law to the contrary, Nantucket county may disburse and expend deposits in county excise funds for the purpose of facilities and programs related to law enforcement, including the planning, improving or constructing of police stations and other related facilities and programs. This chapter shall not apply to any instrument or writing given to secure a debt or to any conveyance to which the commonwealth, a city or town of the commonwealth, or the United States or any of their agencies are a party.

(b) For purposes of calculating the excise set forth in this chapter, under regulations to be adopted by the commissioner, the commissioner may treat multiple transactions as a single transaction or may otherwise adopt reasonable rules to avoid multiple applications of the excise when the transactions are components of a single project including, but not limited to, projects involving historic rehabilitation tax credits, the Community Preservation Act and the development of affordable housing.

(c) For purposes of this chapter, unless otherwise expressly stated, the following words shall have the following meanings:

"Conveyance", a transfer or transfers, directly or indirectly, of any interest in real property by any method, including but not limited to sale, exchange, grant, assignment, trust indenture, or transfer or acquisition of a controlling interest in any entity with an interest in real property, but the transfer or acquisition of a controlling interest shall be considered to be a conveyance only if the fair market value of the interest or interests in real property wherever situated that is owned by the entity, whether directly or through subsidiary entities, equals or exceeds 80 per cent of the fair market value of all of the assets of the entity.

"Interest in real property", includes, but is not limited to, an estate in fee simple, a beneficial interest, a life estate, a perpetual easement, or a leasehold or sublease interest, ordinary or proprietary, but only where the sum of the term of the lease or sublease and any options for renewal, extension, or the like exceeds 49 years.

"Transfer or acquisition of a controlling interest", occurs, in the case of a corporation which has an interest in real property, when a person, or group of persons acting in concert, transfers or acquires, directly or indirectly, including through the transfer or acquisition of an interest in another entity, a total of 50 per cent or more of the total combined stock of the corporation, by vote or value. In the case of any partnership, limited liability company, association, trust, or other entity having an interest in real property, the transfer or acquisition of a controlling interest therein occurs when a person, or group of persons acting in concert, transfers or acquires, directly or indirectly, including through the transfer or acquisition of an interest in another entity, a total of 50 per cent or more of the capital, profits, or beneficial interest in the entity.

(d) Persons are considered to be "acting in concert" when, in accordance with regulations adopted by the commissioner, they have a relationship such that 1 person influences or controls the actions of another. Where the individuals or entities are not commonly controlled or owned, persons shall be considered to be acting in concert when, in accordance with regulations adopted by the commissioner, the unity with which the sellers or purchasers have negotiated and will consummate the transfer of ownership interests indicates that they are acting as a single entity. If the transfers or acquisitions are completely independent, each seller selling or purchaser buying without regard to the identity of the other sellers or purchasers, then the transfers or acquisitions shall be treated as separate transfers or acquisitions.

(e) For purposes of determining whether a controlling interest is transferred or acquired, only transfers or acquisitions of interests occurring on or after January 1, 2008, shall be added together. Where there is a transfer or acquisition of an interest in an entity that has an interest in real property on or after January 1, 2008, and subsequently there is a transfer or acquisition of an additional interest or interests in the same entity, the transfers or acquisitions shall be added together to determine whether a transfer or acquisition of a controlling interest has occurred. No transfer or acquisition of an interest in an entity that has an interest in real property shall be added to another transfer or acquisition in the same entity if they occur more than 3 years apart, unless the transfers or acquisitions are so timed as part of a plan to avoid the excises specified in this section. Notwithstanding the foregoing, neither a bona fide pledge of stock, partnership, or other interest as loan collateral nor any conveyance of publicly traded stock, partnership, or other interest, shall be considered subject to taxation under this chapter.

(f) The commissioner may adopt regulations to implement this section.

Section 2. The excise imposed by this chapter shall be paid by the person who conveys the real property or interest in real property, or for whose benefit the real property or interest in it is conveyed. When the conveyance consists of a transfer or an acquisition of a controlling interest in an entity with an interest in real property, the "person who conveys" the interest means, but is not limited to, a shareholder, partner, or other interest-holder transferring stock, a partnership interest, or another equity interest, respectively. The payment of the excise shall be denoted by "stamps," as that term is defined in section 3, affixed to or printed directly on the deed, instrument or writing evidencing the conveyance, or if none, to a form prescribed by the commissioner for the purpose. In any case in which a conveyance subject to the excise imposed in this chapter is not evidenced by a deed, instrument, or writing that will be recorded, the conveyance shall be evidenced by recording the stamp form required by this section. The person affixing or printing a stamp shall cancel the same by writing or stamping on it the initials of his name and the date when the stamp is affixed or printed, in such manner that it cannot be used again; but the stamp shall not be so defaced as to prevent determination of its denomination and genuineness. The word "person" shall, for the purposes of this chapter, include political subdivisions of the commonwealth, individuals, partnerships, corporations, trusts, limited liability companies, societies, associations, or any other form of unincorporated enterprise.