Starting February 16, 2016, there will be changes to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act ("FIRPTA").
FIRPTA is a tax law passed in 1981 that requires foreign persons to pay U.S. income tax on the gains they make from selling U.S. real estate.
The duty is on the U.S. national buyer to deduct and withhold a portion of the sales price and report the sale to the IRS. Buyers can withhold less than the statutory amount if they obtain a determination of the specific amount of tax owed by the foreign national using IRS Form 8288-B.
In most cases, the settlement agent is the party that actually remits the funds to the IRS, but the buyer is held legally responsible. Additionally, until the tax is paid in full, the government obtains a security interest in the real property.
The 10% rate will still apply for those transactions in which the property is to be used by the Buyer as a residence, provided the sales price does not exceed $1,000,000, and the existing $300,000 “exemption” remains unaffected. So here are the new guidelines:
- If the sales price is $300,000 or less, AND the property will be used by the Buyer as a residence (as provided for in the current regulations), no sums need be withheld or remitted.
- If the sales price exceeds $300,000 but does not exceed $1,000,000, AND the property will be used by the Buyer as a residence, then the withholding rate is 10% on the full amount realized.
- If the sales price exceeds $1,000,000, then the withholding rate is 15% on the entire amount, regardless of use by the Transferee.
Under the law, the Buyer is the withholding agent and is responsible for withholding and remitting the proper amount to the IRS and could be liable for any additional withholding tax, penalty, and interest if their intent is ever challenged by the IRS.
The current FAR/BAR contract form contains language specifically referring to a 10% withholding. An amendment to the contract for closings scheduled on or after February 16, 2016 should be added to change the potential rate of withholding to 15%.
This week we're taking a look at 1 bedroom condo, one of the last remaining in a brand new development that overlooks Meridian Hill Park. It's listed at $354,000.
The location is equidistant to the Columbia Heights and U Street Metro stop. Endless restaurants, bars and shops are within walking distance. Residents at the Lawrence House have access to a communal 1500-square-foot roof deck with built-in cooking facilities as well as a beautifully landscaped rear garden. The units themselves are finished with custom European cabinetry and exotic stone surfaces.
Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $81,038.83. Monthly mortgage payments will then be around $1,537.92 per month (excluding HOA fees). For a complete picture of the cash to close, including the seller's side of the transaction, try the Web version of Close It™ or download the free Close It™ iOS app.
The purchase price and qualifying income limits for the District of Columbia's popular tax abatement program have gone up, according to the Office of Tax and Revenue, which should be good news for local homebuyers who have seen median home prices soar over $500,000 in recent months.
Under the latest guidelines, purchase price may not exceed $408,000. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 homes are currently on the market in Washington, DC at a list price that meets the purchase price qualification for DC Tax Abatement, based on a quick search on Home Snap.
Limits on household income, the other major qualifying factor for DC Tax Abatement, also increased. Review the income qualification table below:
Persons in household
Household income limits
For those who haven't stopped by in a while, we recently revamped our page on the DC Tax Abatement program. There we answer several commonly asked questions about the program and address some of the finer points on qualification criteria. The topic of household income, for example, is a popular one.
The DC Tax Abatement program is one of our favorite topics to write about. Check out our collection of articles on DC Tax Abatement to learn more about how the program works and how to qualify.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Loan Guaranty Program recently published county “limits” to be used for VA Loans effective January 1, 2016.
Please note, these limits do not reflect a maximum amount that an eligible veteran is permitted to borrow, but rather, reflects the VA’s maximum guaranty amount for a particular county. The maximum VA guaranty amount for loans over $144,000 is 25% of the 2016 VA limit.
For example, an eligible veteran may borrow up to $625,500 to purchase a property in Washington, DC (2016 VA limit), with the VA guaranteeing 25% of the loan amount, or approximately $156,375.00. These amounts have remained unchanged in most of the DC Metro Region compared to the 2015 VA limits.
The limits listed below are for some counties in Maryland and Virginia, as well as for the District of Columbia. For a complete list of the county limits for 2016, please click the chart of conforming loan limits. If your county is not listed on the county limits chart on the VA website, the 2016 limit is $417,000.
2016 VA Limit
District of Columbia
This week we're making our way across town to the H Street Corridor in Northeast, D.C. to check out an interior row house with 2 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. The property is more than 100 years old, but appears to have been completely renovated and, according to the listing, has never before been on the market. List price is $619,900.
The kitchen features white marble counter-tops that contrast beautifully with stainless steel appliances. The refinished hardwood floors emit a sense of warmth throughout while preserving some of the home's original character. The location is a mere blocks from the restaurants, theaters and unique bars H Street has to offer.
Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $123,980. Monthly payments will then be around $2,747.89 per month, plus a $244 monthly HOA fee. For a complete picture of the cash to close, including the seller's side of the transaction, try the Web version of Close It™ or download the free Close It™ iOS app.