Excise Tax in most of King County is 1.78% of the sales price. There are still areas in the state that charge 1.53% and in some cases 1.28%. (For a complete list you can visit http://dor.wa.gov). The taxes imposed are due at the time the sale occurs, and are the obligation of the seller. In most instances, taxes are collected by the county upon presentation of the documents of sale for recording in the public records.
There are certain instances where a transfer of real property may be exempt from Excise Tax. The exemptions are all identified by a WAC code.
An example of an exemption would be WAC 458-61A-202 (Inheritance or devise):
In this example: “Transfers of real property by inheritance or devise are not subject to the real estate Excise Tax. For the purpose of this exemption it does not matter whether the real property transferred was encumbered by underlying debt at the time it was inherited or devised”.
There are many other exemptions that exist. It is always prudent to check with your escrow or title professional regarding excise exemptions.
Note: The Department of Revenue can audit past transfers and impose penalties where applicable.
If you need assistance buying or selling your next home, please don’t hesitate to contact Ryan Halset.