The Florida Documentary Stamp Tax is imposed on documents transferring an interest in real estate, but in many cases, people are unaware of this tax and how it may apply to their real estate transaction, and they’re surprised with an unwelcome extra expense when it comes time to record the property deed. Interest and penalties for not paying this tax are steep, so it’s critical to understand and plan for documentary stamps.

When Does The Documentary Stamp Tax Apply?

The document stamps are actually an excise tax on the documentation that transfer interest in real property and written obligations to pay. Therefore you’re paying tax on the property deed, the mortgage, or some other kind of promissory note. Documentary stamps are typically paid at the time the document is recorded. But unrecorded documents may also be subject to the tax, unless the transaction or party is exempt.

For transactions that don’t involve financing, the Document Stamp Tax for recording the property deed in most counties is 70 cents per $100 of the sales price (known as consideration). This includes quit claim deeds between spouses and family members.

For financed transactions, the documentary stamp tax is 35 cents per $100 of face value on the note; the tax is based on the amount financed, not the selling price. There is an additional “Intangible Tax” of 20 cents per $100 financed, which has to be paid before the mortgage is recorded.

Examples of Documents Subject to Tax:

  • Deeds (e.g., warranty, special warranty, quit claim, trustee’s deed, life estate deed)
  • A document that transfers property between spouses
  • Agreement/Contract for Deed
  • A document that transfers a mobile home as real property
  • An assignment of a leasehold interest in real property
  • Certificate of Title
  • A document that transfers a cemetery lot or interment rights
  • A deed in lieu of foreclosure

When Do Exemptions Apply?

Some exemptions apply to the Document Stamp Tax including:

  • When a property owner wants to transfer ownership from their personal assets to a Limited Liability Corporation they own;
  • When property is transferred between spouses and there is no mortgage;
  • In certain cases of property being transferred into a trust;
  • Or between ex-spouses for up to a year after their divorce becomes final.

Need Help With Documentary Stamp Tax?

The real estate attorneys at Overstreet, Miles, Cumbie, and Finkenbinder are highly experienced in dealing with the intricacies of the Florida Documentary Stamp Tax laws. Give us a call or contact us online, and we’ll schedule a consultation appointment and let you know how we can help!

Approximately 30 million people have immigrated to the United States since 1990, and the U.S. government issues about one million green cards each year. The term green card is slang for an Alien Registration Card (I-551) which certifies that a person is a “lawful permanent resident” of the United States. A green card is different than a nonimmigrant visa, which is temporary and usually issued to someone coming to the country for a specific purpose such as school or business.

The process of getting a green card can be complicated and it can take a long time. “Immigration is a complicated area of law,” said Timothy Finkenbinder, a Kissimmee attorney who has worked in the field of immigration law for more than 20 years. He equates it to doing your taxes. “You look at the forms and it doesn’t look all that difficult, but we all know tax laws are incredibly complicated. Immigration is the same way.”

An attorney familiar with immigration law can help explain the process to applicants, provide a checklist of needed documents, identify issues that might come up and how to address them.

“People often don’t know what documents should be led and do not understand that what they say on the application is attested to under oath,” Finkenbinder said. “People often get themselves in trouble because they are afraid to disclose information that is actually harmless.”

An attorney can also provide a realistic timeline. Some green card categories may be approved in as little as six months, while other categories may take up to 10 years or longer.

Immediate relatives include spouses, minor children (under 21), and parents of U.S. citizens. A stepchild is included in this category, if the marriage occurred before the child’s 18th birthday.

 The five family-based preference categories that have annual quotas are:

  • Adult children of U.S. citizens (older than 21)
  • Spouses of green card holders
  • Children of green card holders
  • Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
  • Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens

Finkenbinder urges people to be cautious when responding to ads or solicitations from immigration consultants.

“Talking to a lawyer can make a life-changing difference,” he said.

Timothy Finkenbinder
Partner
Overstreet, Miles, Cumbie & Finkenbinder P.A.

Download the PDF – Osceola News Gazette

The process of naturalization is the most common path for people who were not born as citizens of the United States to gain US citizenship. Completing the application for naturalization (or USCIS form N-400) and successfully demonstrating that you meet all the eligibility requirements can be time-consuming and complex, and the process is likely to go more smoothly if you’re working with an experienced immigration attorney.

Application For Naturalization Overview

Once you’ve reviewed and believe that you meet the eligibility criteria for naturalization, the process begins with filing your application and ends, in the best case, with you swearing the Oath of Allegiance and receiving your Certificate of Naturalization. The length of time needed for the entire process depends on your particular case and on the caseload of the service center you’re working through. Currently, USCIS estimates an average of 6 months, from the date your application is filed, though that time can vary significantly.

  • Application – If you are at least 18 years old and have been a legal permanent resident for at least five years (three years if you are married to a US citizen), and you meet other eligibility requirements, like a clean criminal background check, and successful scores on the English language and citizenship testing you may qualify for naturalization. After you submit your USC IS form N-400 and the required documentation to support your application, you’ll be able to get an estimate of processing time and status of your application online. 
  • Biometrics – After your application is reviewed and found complete, you’ll get a notice advising you of an appointment for biometrics. This is when you will be photographed and fingerprinted and will consent to an FBI criminal background investigation.
  • Interview & Testing – Once your biometrics have been successfully processed, USCIS will schedule you for your naturalization interview, English language testing and civics test.
  • Oath Ceremony – The final step in the process is attending a ceremony to swear the Oath of Allegiance and receive your Certificate of Naturalization. When those two things are done, you are immediately recognized as a US citizen.

Naturalization Issues:

If you have ever been arrested or convicted of any crime you should consult an attorney before filing an application for naturalization. Even if there is no conviction, arrests and certain conduct can pose serious issues for applicants. Other factors that may impact the success of your naturalization case may include divorce, failure to disclose important information such as children during the green card application process, physical presence requirements or issues relating to green card abandonment.

An Experienced Immigration Attorney Can Smooth The Way 

If you’re getting ready to apply for naturalization, or your application has been denied and you need help moving forward, the immigration attorneys at the Kissimmee Law Firm of Overstreet, Miles, Cumbie & Finkenbinder will work with you to get your application file properly. Contact us for a confidential consultation and we’ll give you a clear picture of how we can help.

When you are involved in a residential or commercial real estate transaction in Florida, it’s important to understand what a real estate attorney can to do to actively protect your interests, prevent mistakes, and solve issues that could delay your closing. Working with a real estate attorney helps you stay on top of all the details of your life-changing investment and makes your transaction as painless as possible.

Find & Resolve “Hidden” Issues

When you purchase real estate, a title agent will search the property title for things like liens, and verify that the seller is the rightful owner, entitled to sell you the property. The results of this search are provided to the parties in a title commitment, which is one of the most important documents in the closing process. The vast majority of buyers do not know what a title commitment is and therefore don’t bother to review it. Hiring a real estate attorney to review the title commitment can alert you to issues before you purchase the property. In many cases they can help resolve these issues before the closing. Otherwise, you may not be aware of title issues that could cost you money later on: Issues like liens, easements, or deed restrictions. A real estate attorney can serve as the title agent too. 

Gain A Clear, Accurate Understanding

 Real estate contracts are incredibly complicated, and it’s critical that you understand everything you’re committing to, both rights and obligations, before you sign. When you hire a real estate attorney to review the documentation and contract for your potential purchase, you add a layer of protection and peace of mind. Your real estate attorney will review all the terms and contingencies, explain anything you don’t understand, and advise you if they find issues that work against your best interest. Another benefit to having an attorney review the title and contract is that they can let you know if there are any land use controls or zoning issues that could affect your future plans for the property.

Added Protection For Short Sales & Foreclosures 

Short sales and foreclosures can offer buyers excellent value, but that value is not without risk. When you’re dealing with bank-owned property or property that the lender has agreed to allow to be sold for less than the seller owes, there are some potential pitfalls. Hiring a real estate attorney helps ensure that you’re not stuck in a situation where the seller doesn’t actually have the lender’s permission for a short sale, or the lender is able to come after you for the shortfall later, or you’re dealing with liens or other encumbrances that transfer with the property title.

Experienced Real Estate Attorneys In Florida 

The real estate attorneys at Overstreet, Miles, Cumbie & Finkenbinder are highly experienced in helping Florida real estate buyers and sellers protect their interests and investments. Call us or contact us online for a confidential consultation, and we’ll let you know what to expect and how we can help!