Real Estate Transfer Tax or "Stamp Tax"
Real Estate Transfer Tax or Stamp Tax is a tax that may be imposed by states and local jurisdictions for the privilege of transferring real property between parties in that jurisdiction. This tax includes residential, commercial and industrial properties. Total transfer taxes range from very small to relatively large. Transactions in the US Virgin Islands require 2% to 3.5% government transfer tax or stamp tax. All property transactions over $350,000 require a mandatory 2.5% stamp tax.
The US Virgin Islands, which include St Thomas, St John St Croix and Water Island, are unincorporated territory of the United States. Thus, purchasing property in any of these islands grants you the same guarantees and Constitutional protections and rights that you would have in anywhere in the United States.
Some states have a variety of transfer tax laws which may include specific exemptions for certain types of buyers based on buying status or income level (e.g. Maryland exempts certain "first time buyers" from a percentage of the total or excludes a portion of the property's sales price from taxation altogether).
The following is a break down of stamp taxes in the U.S. Virgin Islands as of 2015:
- 2 % for properties valued up to $350,000
- 2.5% for properties valued from $350,001 to 1 million
- 3 % for properties valued from $1,000,001 to $5 million
- 3.5% percent for properties valued over $5,000,001
Another variation which exists is either the legal requirement to split the taxes between the parties or the local custom to do so. Thus, in Delaware the 1.5 - 2.0% can be split between the seller and the buyer. Prior to buying or selling, it is advisable to check with the Recorder of Deeds, a Realtor, or title company to confirm a specific jurisdiction's practices.
How these taxes are used varies from state to state. They can fund housing programs for low income families, or preserve open space in commercial or residential areas.
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