Most state governments charge a fee of some sort for transferring a title to real estate from one person to another. In Florida, that fee is known as the "doc stamp tax." The tax is also levied on bonds, mortgages and liens. Unlike Florida property taxes, the doc stamp tax is not a legitimate federal income tax deduction.
Doc Stamp Tax
You pay the doc stamp tax whenever you record a title transfer with a county recorder of deeds. Typically, Florida land transfers involve warranty deeds or quitclaim deeds, but you also pay doc stamps for transfers involving easements, contracts for deed and deeds in lieu of foreclosure. As of 2011, the tax rate was 70 cents for every $100 in consideration given for the property, though Miami-Dade sets a different rate. Consideration can include cash, a mortgage, forgiveness of a debt or a property swap.
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Real Estate Taxes
You can deduct whatever property taxes you pay to Florida governing bodies from your federal taxable income. In Florida, taxing authorities can include school boards, cities, counties and fire districts. Special assessments -- a property tax targeting certain parcels to pay for a benefit, such as a new road -- are an exception: Because you get something in return for your payments, it isn't deductible. Taxes on title transfers -- not only Florida's doc stamps but similar taxes in other states -- are not a deduction approved by the Internal Revenue Service.
You may be able to gain a federal tax benefit from the doc stamp tax when you calculate capital gains on a real estate sale. The federal government charges capital gains tax on the difference between your "adjusted basis" -- the purchase price plus certain fees -- and your sale price. The adjustments to the purchase price include title, insurance, surveying costs and real estate transfer taxes. By including the doc stamp fees in your adjusted basis, you'll reduce the taxable gain on the sale.
If you wish to claim your Florida property taxes as a federal deduction, you have to itemize deductions on Schedule A. Some mortgage lenders require you deposit monthly payments on your annual property tax bill into an escrow account, which the lender uses to make sure the tax is paid. If you have such an account, you can't deduct the money you pay into it. All you can claim is the money that goes out of the account to your local tax collector.