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Questions About Property Transfers

Selling real or personal property.  What do I need to know?
All transfers of property require a Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit be completed and filed with the Treasurer's Office, along with payment of excise tax, prior to being recorded in the County Auditor's Office.  Personal property or mobile homes, may require advance property taxes be paid at this time as well.  We will not accept incomplete affidavit forms, nor can we provide legal advice as to how to complete them.

Beginning March 1, 2011:

You may use the single copy .pdf version, not the Excel version, of the Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit (REETA), and all other REET forms, including Mobile Home, and Supplemental Statements. Please be careful that you don't reduce the print and/or form size when printing these documents from the DOR website. We will only accept one original legal size (8.5 x 14) signed document, if not submitting the 4-part legal size carbonized form. Once reviewed and receipted, we will make the necessary photo copies. Please provide 4 copies of all attachments, on standard letter size paper (8.5 x 11). Including, but not limited to, legal description, and any attachments required by the WAC rules.

Notice to Title Companies, Escrow Agents and Attorneys:

Effective with the 2007 tax statements, the Whatcom County Treasurer stopped maintaining mortgage company information in our taxpayer database. All tax correspondence will be mailed to the parcel owner, or their designee, but not to a mortgage company or tax service. Because of this change, if a mortgage company address appears on a new Excise Tax Affidavit in Section 3 (Tax Correspondence) it will be returned for a better address, or the representative presenting the document will be asked to change it. Section 3 will usually be blank with only the "Same as Buyer/Grantee" box checked. We will continue to provide and accept payment information from mortgage companies electronically. If you have any questions regarding this change please contact us.

Gifting property.  What do I need to know?
There is a Real Estate Gift Supplemental form that must be signed by both parties, and must accompany a completed Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit.  These documents are filed in the Treasurer's Office and are subject to a minimum filing fee if there are no taxes due.

How long do I have to process my property transfer and pay excise tax?    
Thirty (30) days from the date of sale to avoid interest and penalty on the excise taxes due.

I am buying and / or moving a used mobile home.  What do I need to know?
If the mobile home is GOING TO BE MOVED as a condition of sale, obtain a tax certificate (moving permit) from the Assessor's Office.  There is no charge for the tax certificate.  Take the tax certificate to the Treasurer's Office to be certified that any property taxes due on the mobile home have been paid, and receive an orange decal which must be displayed on the mobile home while it is being moved.  It is a violation of Washington state law to move a mobile home without a validated tax certificate and orange decal.  When all property taxes have been paid, the Treasurer's Office will issue a tax verification form (half sheet).  The tax verification form, and the current mobile home title, can be taken to the Licensing Department in the Auditor's Office to pay sales tax and transfer the title into the new owner's name.

If the mobile home is NOT GOING TO BE MOVED, go to the Treasurer's Office to complete a Mobile Home Excise Tax Affidavit and pay any excise tax that may be due.  This Affidavit must be signed by the buyer and the seller, and is required along with the current title, to transfer title in the Licensing Department of the Auditor's Office. Please be careful that you don't reduce the print and/or form size when printing these documents from the DOR website.

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