4/6/12: The governor has signed the transferee tax liability bill, which includes the real estate "carve outs" that FLTA advocated. Our thanks again to Rep. John Wood, Russ Hale representing the Florida Bankers, and Bill Wiley and Gary Teblum of the Business Law Section for all of their hard work on this bill.
3/30/12: The Transferee Tax Liability bill has been signed by the officers and sent to the Governor for signing or veto. He must act on this by 4/14/12.
3/7/12: Thanks to the hard work of Rep. John Wood (R - Winter Haven), the Transferee Tax liability bill has been passed by both houses and will move on to the Governor for signature.
3/6/12: The House version of the transferee tax liability bill has moved to the Senate floor and is on second reading.
3/1/12 After a long period of inactivity in the Senate, the Transferee Tax Liability bill (SB 170) was withdrawn from its last committee of reference and placed on the special order calendar for 3/6/12.
Last year, through the hard work of Rep. John Wood (R- Winter Haven), we came close to solving a significant unintended problem with the transferee tax liability law. That law makes the purchaser of a business responsible for unpaid sales and other taxes owed by the seller. Unfortunately, it can be triggered by the sale of real estate (even a home, under some circumstances) where one is not buying the "business" which triggered the tax.
While the tax liability of the buyer would not be covered under a title policy, our customers often claim the closing agent is responsible for protecting them from all unexpected liabilities. And this is one which can't be detected through a review of the official records -- or anything short of demanding a tax audit of your seller. (obviously not a popular requirement).
The bill, which FLTA strongly supported would have clarified that the sale of 1-4 family residential property, of owner occupied commercial property or vacant land would not trigger transferee tax liability. It passed through the entire committee process last year, passed in the Florida House and died the last night in the Florida Senate.
So, we had to start all over this year. With the strong leadership of the Business and Tax Law Sections of the Florida Bar, this year's bills have passed all committees in the house and all but one committee in the Senate. We are optimistic that this good bill will pass into law this session.