I sold my home. Can I get a refund of the realty transfer fee?

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Q. I am a senior and sold my home in New Jersey after 33 years. I paid a $2,140 state transfer tax in Hunterdon County and moved to South Carolina. I filled a 2022 New Jersey state income tax form and paid my taxes for the full year. Can I file a RTF-3 form and get a refund for this tax?
— Moving on

A. We’re sorry to see you go.

Here’s what you need to know.

New Jersey state imposes a Realty Transfer Fee (RTF) on the seller of real property for recording a deed for the sale, said Chen Lu, an enrolled agent with Peapack Private Wealth Management in Summit.

She said the RTF applies to every conveyance of title to real property in New Jersey unless the deed or transfer meets an exemption.

There are a few exemptions from the RTF, she said.

The first is the transaction between family members.

“The sale of a property between parent and child, husband and wife, and siblings are exempt,” she said. “The transfer of a deed from a stepparent to a stepchild is only 50% exempt unless the stepparent has adopted that child.”

A list of exemptions can be found on Form RTF-1.

Partial exemptions apply to senior citizens who are 62 or older, a blind or disabled person, and sale of low- and moderate-income housing, she said.

Based on that, you may may be entitled to the partial exemption as a senior citizen.

“Look through your closing documents, as this partial exemption was probably claimed during the closing process,” she said. “If you think you also qualify for any of the exemptions listed on Form RTF-1, you can file Form RTF-3 to claim the refund for the realty transfer fee you paid.”

We recommend you consult with your personal tax advisor for a closer look at your specific situation.

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This story was originally published on July 5, 2023.

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