The Trump Administration Is Now Tapping Out Real Estate Taxes, Not Real Estate Investors
President Trump has signed a new executive order instructing the Office of Management and Budget to begin exploring the possibility of changing the way that real estate is taxed in the United States.
The president also signed an order on Tuesday directing the Office for Tax and Economic Policy to begin looking at how to increase taxes on the wealthy and to reduce deductions for certain tax-exempt items, such as mortgage interest.
In the same order, Trump also directed OMB to start working on an audit of real estate transactions and regulations.
The real estate tax is an excise tax on the value of a real estate transaction that is levied on all property sold by a realtor to a buyer, and is typically a tax on an initial purchase price, which is usually a fair market value.
It is intended to discourage speculation in real estate and increase the supply of available housing, and the federal government does not collect any taxes on purchases made through real estate exchanges.
The tax has been one of the central concerns of realtor advocates for years.
They have long argued that it unfairly penalizes the wealthy, and that it does not encourage investment in new housing or encourage developers to bring housing into the United State.
As part of the order signed Tuesday, OMB will begin “evaluating the current tax treatment of the sale of real property by the federal estate transfer tax (FET), as well as other estate tax provisions, to determine how to better address the tax burden of the estate tax.”
The order does not specify how much money would be collected from the FET and how that would be distributed to the Treasury.
A senior White House official said that it would be up to the OMB’s Office for Fiscal Service to determine the appropriate tax allocation.
The move comes just weeks after OMB proposed changing the estate taxation system to allow the deduction for mortgage interest that is generally taxed as ordinary income.
This proposal was not included in the executive order, and Trump did not mention it in his remarks.
The Treasury Department has said that the FETS exemption for mortgage insurance would be repealed if the president’s order is implemented.
The order signed today also directs OMB “to examine the effects of the mortgage interest exemption on the Fets tax liability, to identify ways to reform the Fetts tax system, and to identify opportunities to increase tax revenue through other means.”
The executive order also directs the OMT to develop an analysis of the impact of eliminating deductions for capital gains and dividend income on the U.S. economy.
The administration has previously said that eliminating deductions would have negative effects on economic growth and job creation.
The FETS exemptions are generally used to help homeowners save for retirement, but also are used to reduce the tax burdens of individuals who own a home.
The White House has said it would “immediately” release an analysis that would show that the elimination of these deductions would “reduce real estate market value by about $7.3 trillion over the next decade.”
However, the administration has yet to release the analysis.
The OMT’s plan to review the estate taxes is not a done deal.
The current estate tax code is in place for nearly 70 years.
The estate tax law was written by a Republican-controlled Congress in 1986, but Congress is currently controlled by Democrats.
Congress has repeatedly postponed passing an estate tax reform bill.
As of April 1, 2017, the estate and gift tax rate was $5,700 per year for estates of $5 million and over.
The exemption is limited to an individual who is 50 years old or older.