2017-06-21 / Front Page

County could raise property transfer tax

by Kate Shunney

The Morgan County Commissioners will consider raising the excise tax on property sales in the county as allowed under a new West Virginia law.

As of July 6, counties can begin the process to hike the local portion of the property transfer tax from $2.20 per $1,000 value to $3.30 per $1,000 value.

Currently, the parties involved in a property sale pay a total excise tax of $6.60 per $1,000 of value at the time of the sale. Of that, $2.20 goes to the state, $2.20 is retained by the county and $2.20 goes to the Farmland Protection Board for purchases of conservation easements, said Morgan County Commissioners.

Under Senate Bill 433, passed this session of the West Virginia Legislature and sponsored by Senator Charles Trump (R-Morgan), counties can raise their portion of the tax to $3.30 per $1,000 of value. That portion of the tax goes into the general revenue fund in Morgan County, said local officials.

If approved, the change would mean parties involved in a property sale would pay an excise tax of $7.70 per $1,000 in value to transfer a real estate title.

On a $150,000 real estate sale, the total property transfer tax would rise from $990 to $1,155 under the new tax rate. Morgan County’s portion of that tax would rise from $330 to $495.

County officials estimated they would bring in $95,000 this fiscal year through the current property transfer tax. As of June 19 – just 11 days shy of the end of the fiscal year -- the county had received $159,015 in property transfer payments, according to the County Clerk’s office. That’s $64,000 more than officials budgeted.

County officials estimate they will bring in $120,000 in property transfer tax revenue for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Commission to vote

Under the law change, a majority of the County Commission must approve of the tax hike, and must advertise their intention to vote on the tax increase at least 30 days ahead of that vote.

Last Wednesday, June 14, the Morgan County Commission voted 3-0 to proceed with advertising the tax move. They will vote on the change at a Commission meeting later this summer.

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