Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Nevada Tax Commission Fiddles, Letting Fannie, Freddie Slide On Payment Of Transfer Taxes As Statute Of Limitations 'Clock' Continues To Tick

In Carson City, Nevada, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports:

  • The state Tax Commission on Monday turned down Treasurer Kate Marshall's request that Nevada begin collecting real property transfer taxes on mortgages guaranteed by the federal Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac companies.

    She urged the commission to require the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. to pay the tax of $5.10 for each $500 in property value in Clark County. About half of the tax goes to the state.

    But commission Chairman Robert Barengo said the "law is unsettled" on whether the federal lenders, who hold more than half of all mortgages, can be assessed the tax. He suggested the state wait until additional court decisions. A majority of the eight-member board backed his view, but not all board members attended and two voted "no."

    The state could collect more than $24.5 million in transfer taxes from the past three years if the state sued and won litigation over the issue, Marshall said. Either Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the banks that made the loans could be required to pay the taxes, she said.

    "There are district courts that have ruled in our favor and district courts that ruled for Fannie and Freddie," said Marshall, who has been arguing in favor of the tax collection for more than a year.

    Michigan, Illinois and Ohio have won cases and can collect the real estate transfer taxes. But Nevada's Department of Taxation has chosen not to try to collect the tax from the federal government.

    Since there is a four-year statute of limitations on the tax collection, every day the state waits is another day "Fannie and Freddie don't pay," Marshall said. The state and local governments vitally need the money because of the recession and foreclosure crisis, she added.

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