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Transfer Tax on real estate in Missouri you need to read this!

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Local Blogs - Home Court Advantage - Donna Joerling
Wednesday, 05 May 2010

            (Jefferson City, Mo.) ­ Missourians took another step toward stopping unfair double taxation on real estate as petitions signed by tens of thousands of registered voters were submitted on Sunday for review by the Missouri Secretary of State.  
 
            "In overwhelming numbers, Missouri citizens supported through their signatures putting into our State Constitution an assurance that the sales of homes and other real estate won't be subjected to paying taxes twice on the same property," said Elizabeth Mendenhall of Columbia, spokesperson for the Vote YES to Stop Double Taxation Committee.
 
            "Thanks to the signatures of so many thousands of our neighbors, Missouri is a step closer to banning bad public policy that denies fairness and defies common sense," added Mendenhall, who is also president of the 22,000-member Missouri Association of REALTORS®.
 
            Transfer taxes on home sales are double taxation because Missourians already pay annual property taxes on real estate, often over many decades of ownership.  Missouri is among just 13 states that do not impose a transfer tax on real estate sales, including all of Missouri's neighboring states. As state, county and city revenues decline, politicians are tempted to impose new transfer taxes - just as Missouri citizens are struggling to make it.
 
            "This unfair double taxation can happen in Missouri under current law. We are asking voters to keep politicians from penalizing Missourians with such a bad tax policy," Mendenhall said.  She led supporters on Sunday as they turned in petitions signed by citizens from across the state to place the proposed state constitutional amendment on November's general election ballot.
 
            The proposed state constitutional amendment's language is straightforward and simple: "Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to prevent the state, counties, and other political subdivisions from imposing any new tax, including a sales tax, on the sale or transfer of homes or any other real estate?"
 
            The Secretary of State will now work with county election officials to verify the petition signatures. Once the required number of signatures are verified, the proposal will secure a place on the November statewide ballot and will be assigned an amendment number.
 
            Voters are encouraged to visit http://www.yestosavehomes.com/ to learn more about the proposal to stop double taxation.
 
 
 
Vote YES to STOP Double Taxation - Frequently Asked Questions
 
What would your proposal do?
            It would amend the Missouri Constitution to prevent Double Taxation on homes and other properties.

What is the specific language of your proposal?
            "Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to prevent the state, counties, and other political subdivisions from imposing any new tax, including a sales tax, on the sale or transfer of homes or any other real estate?"

What is a real estate transfer tax?
            It's a tax imposed by state or local governments, or both, that is collected when you transfer ownership of your home, land or other real estate. Typically, once the tax is on the books, the rate can be increased by the state, city or county without a  vote of the people.

Do Missouri or its local governments now impose real estate transfer taxes?
            These unfair taxes are currently allowed under the Missouri Constitution. Even though these unfair taxes are not now being collected in Missouri, 37 states and the District of Columbia are imposing some variation of a real estate transfer tax. Missouri needs to head off this temptation to politicians that amounts to unfair double taxation.

If Missouri and its local governments don't current impose real estate transfer taxes, why should we change our Constitution to bar these taxes?
            As state, county and city revenues decline, politicians are tempted to raise taxes, just as Missouri citizens are struggling to make it. Once these double taxes are on the books, politicians can increase the tax rates. All of Missouri's neighboring states have imposed some sort of real estate transfer tax.  Nationally, states have raised the tax rate 80 percent on average each time they have imposed transfer taxes. It can happen in Missouri under current law. Missourians should keep politicians from miring us in the bad public policy quicksand of unfair double taxation.

How many states impose real estate transfer taxes or their equivalents?
            Currently, 37 states and the District of Columbia impose transfer taxes or their equivalents, while Missouri is among 13 states that do not impose such taxes.  All of Missouri's neighboring states impose some variation of a tax on real estate transactions.

What is your objection to a real estate transfer tax?
            Missouri homeowners already pay property tax. A real estate transfer tax is nothing more than double taxation. Many sellers have owned their homes for decades, and they have already paid thousands of dollars in property taxes and other fees. Adding double taxation through a real estate transfer tax is simply bad public policy. It denies fairness, and it defies Missouri common sense.

How would a real estate transfer tax affect families that own property?
            Real estate transfer taxes are definitely family unfriendly. Small farms and family homes that have been passed down for generations would be subject to the new and unfair burden of double taxation, if transfer taxes are imposed on land for which property taxes have already been paid for decades. And such a transfer tax would be imposed before the federal government takes its 50 percent "death tax" bite on family properties. Missouri common sense tells us we should rule out such family unfriendly taxation that destroys dreams.

What would be the economic impact of imposing real estate transfer taxes at the state or local level in Missouri?
            In this economy, many Missourians have lost jobs or had pay cuts. Some have been forced to sell their homes, many at a loss because of drops in property values. This is particularly true for lower-income Missourians, who typically spend a larger percentage of their income on their home. Our Missouri neighbors experiencing this severe financial strain shouldn't be subjected to more taxes, especially the double taxation of a real estate transfer tax.

Who is backing this proposed state constitutional amendment?
            The proposal's primary supporters are some 22,000 members of the Missouri Association of REALTORS ®, which is our state's largest trade association, comprised of hometown neighbors from every Missouri community. Together, the Missouri Association of REALTORS ® members have established a state campaign committee in support of the amendment: the Vote YES to STOP Double Taxation Committee.

Why make this effort in Missouri?
            Where better than the heart of our country to make a stand to defend the heart of the American dream of home ownership? We are making this stand because Missouri is a national bellwether, and our people are known for their common sense.

What is the Missouri Association of REALTORS ®?
            The Missouri Association of REALTORS ® is a professional association that is some 22,000 members strong. We are the largest trade association in Missouri. Our members are personally invested in our communities in countless ways ­ raising families, leading in volunteerism, serving on local boards, sharing church pews, school meetings and our joys and tragedies. This spirit of community involvement reaches out nationally; for example, in the aftermath of both 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, REALTORS ® came together immediately to volunteer in relief and shelter projects. We care about our neighbors and work to help them achieve the American dream of home ownership.

Who is opposing this proposal?
            We are unaware of any opposition to this good-government proposal.

Have you done any polling?
            Yes. Our polling found more than seven-in-ten Missouri registered voters support this proposal to STOP double taxation, reflecting Missouri common sense about bad public policy. Missourians by similar strong majorities said they would have serious doubts about their elected officials who didn't share their support of this amendment.            

What is the process for getting the proposal onto the ballot?
            As with all citizen ballot initiatives in Missouri, sponsors are required by law to obtain a certain number of signatures of registered voters on petitions to place the measure on the ballot for a statewide vote. We have gathered tens of thousands of  signatures of registered Missouri voters, which includes a comfortable cushion of additional signatures, to place this amendment before our neighbors in the November 2010 general election. Those petitions are now awaiting certification from the Missouri Secretary of State. We appreciate the overwhelming support we have received from Missourians who signed petitions by the tens of thousands to give citizens the final say this November on stopping unfair double taxation.

What would be the government fiscal impact of the proposal?
            Since these unfair taxes are not now being collected in Missouri, and our aim is to keep it that way, there would not be a new fiscal impact.

What are the next steps for the proposal?
            We await the Missouri Secretary of State's certification of our petitions to place the proposed amendment on the November statewide ballot. Once that happens, we will have an extensive educational campaign to encourage Missourians to vote YES to Stop Double Taxation.  

For those of you that read this all the way to the bottom and are concerned about the government putting even more financial burdens on what is already a struggling industry, you can call Donna Joerling at 314 808-1712 and we can talk about how you can help prevent this taxation with your vote.  Donna Joerling hope to talk with you soon!

 

 
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