2017-08-23 / Front Page

Commissioners raise tax on sale of local real estate

Transfer fee to boost county revenue
by Kate Shunney

Morgan County Commissioners voted unanimously to take advantage of a new West Virginia law that lets counties hike the amount they charge buyers and sellers of real estate to transfer property ownership.

On Wednesday, August 16, officials raised the local portion of the property transfer tax from $2.20 per $1,000 of a transaction to $3.30 per $1,000. The change will go into effect October 1.

Currently, the parties involved in a property sale pay a total excise tax of $6.60 per $1,000 when they transfer ownership. 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.

Starting October 1, that tax will rise to $7.70 per $1,000.

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.

Counties were given power to raise their portion of the tax under Senate Bill 433, passed this session of the West Virginia Legislature. The county portion of the tax -- $3.30 per $1,000 -- goes into the general revenue fund in Morgan County.

This fiscal year, county officials have estimated they will bring in $120,000 in property transfer tax revenue between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.

Commissioners said Wednesday that figure didn’t anticipate the higher property transfer tax rate.

Commission President Joel Tuttle said he expects the higher rate to add $72,000 to county transfer tax collections because of the hike.

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