Real Estate Transfer Fee Common Questions - R

Railroads

  1. Does a railroad company need to file railroad conveyances with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), even if it filed with the Register of Deeds?

  2. The Register of Deeds returned the quit claim deed and transfer return indicating that per state law (sec. 190.11, Wis. Stats.), railroad conveyances must be filed with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). Payment of transfer fees are payable to DFI as stated in the statute. Is this true?

Receipts

  1. Can two eRETR receipts be used with one deed?

  2. Under what circumstances can the Register of Deeds reject an eRETR receipt?

  3. A receipt has one grantor listed, while the deed has two. Is this receipt acceptable?

  4. Are middle initials required on the receipt?

  5. A receipt has 13 parcels showing and the deed has 19. How do I know if the return is correct?

Refunds

  1. A transfer fee was paid. However, the conveyance is exempt from fee. How do you apply for a refund?

  2. If a transfer fee is paid in the wrong county, how do you get a refund so the fee can be paid in the correct county?

Relocation Industry

  1. In the relocation industry, companies usually take a deed as the grantee and a deed with no grantee listed. The grantor is paid and moves away. The relocation company puts the property on the market and at a later date sells it to another party and only records the deed to the new grantees. How may transfer fees are due?


Railroads

  1. Does a railroad company need to file railroad conveyances with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), even if it filed with the Register of Deeds?

  2. Yes. According to state law (sec. 190.11, Wis. Stats.), "Every conveyance or lease, deed of trust, mortgage or satisfaction thereof...shall be filed with the department of financial institutions…" If a railroad wants to record a railroad conveyance at both the county and with DFI, a transfer return is required by each; however, only one transfer fee is required. If the document is first recorded with the county and the fee paid, then when the document conveying the same property is recorded at DFI, the transfer return is exempt from fee per sec. 77.25(3), Wis. Stats., as confirming a prior recorded document.

  3. The Register of Deeds returned the quit claim deed and transfer return indicating that per state law (sec. 190.11, Wis. Stats.), railroad conveyances must be filed with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). Payment of transfer fees are payable to DFI as stated in the statute. Is this true?

  4. This is partially true. You must record railroad conveyances at DFI, but may also record them with the county register of deeds. It makes no difference whether you file first with DFI or the county. You must complete and file two returns; the first should accompany the transfer fee and the second claim Exemption (3) which "confirms … a conveyance previously recorded." 

    Example: If you choose to record at the county Register of Deeds first, complete the return showing the fee due and pay the transfer fee to the Register of Deeds. After recording, the deed is sent back to the person indicated on the deed. Then when filing the deed with DFI, you must complete a new return claiming exemption sec. 77.25(3), Wis. Stats., and no fee will be due at that time. When using Exemption (3), you must provide the county's document number on the return for the conveyance with DFI.

Receipts

  1. Can two eRETR receipts be used with one deed?

  2. No. Only one transfer return can be accepted per deed.

  3. Under what circumstances can the Register of Deeds reject an eRETR receipt?

    Under state law (sec. 77.22(1), Wis. Stats.), the Register of Deeds can only accept a properly completed real estate transfer return, with fee (if due), for a conveyance recording. Registers must verify that the receipt and the document being recorded are in agreement and reflect the proper county.

    Registers should make sure all items required for a recording are present. These items include: document to be recorded, eRETR receipt, transfer fee payment (if due), and any rental weatherization papers (if needed). The receipt contains a list of the required items for reference.

    Transfer fee amount - if a fee is due, it must be the same as the amount on the check or other method of payment. Note: For some transfers, there may be both a fee and an exemption, if the transfer is partially exempt.

    Date of conveyance - date listed on the conveyance must be on or before the date of recording. Postdated conveyances should not be accepted.

    Grantors and grantees - all grantors and grantees listed on the document must be listed on the receipt. An exception is a husband and wife with the same last name. In this case, the return may have both first names in the first name box; and only one Social Security Number is required.

    Parcels - all parcels listed on the document are listed on the receipt.

    • Five or fewer parcels - each must be listed in a separate parcel section (Add Parcel)

    • More than five - the first five must be listed separately under "Parcels" and the remainder may be listed separately on the Legal Description page of the eRETR

    • Parcel numbers - are required on the return. If a county does not require parcel numbers on the document, property verification is accomplished by using the legal description.

  4. Note: If any information on the receipt is changed, it must be rejected. Changing information on the receipt creates an inconsistency with the information on the eRETR.
    Review criteria for an Electronic Real Estate Transfer Return (eRETR) at: revenue.wi.gov/Pages/Publications/slf-pe100e.aspx

  5. A receipt has one grantor listed, while the deed has two. Is this receipt acceptable?

  6. No. All grantors and grantees named on the document must be on the receipt.
    Exception: Husband and wife with the same last name may have both first names in the first name box. In this case, only one Social Security Number is required.

  7. Are middle initials required on the receipt?

  8. No. Middle initials are not required and are not needed on the receipt.

  9. A receipt has 13 parcels showing and the deed has 19. How do I know if the return is correct?

  10. The receipt is designed to print one page only. If there are a large number of grantors, grantees or parcels (these sections have the "add" button), all parcels may not show on the eRETR receipt. If the conveyance includes more than five parcels, the preparer must enter at least five parcels in the Parcel section and enter the remainder on the Legal Description page of the eRETR. If the correct parcels are listed, enter the recording information. If the parcel listing is not correct, contact the preparer for a new receipt that has all 19 parcels included.

Refunds

  1. A transfer fee was paid. However, the conveyance is exempt from fee. How do you apply for a refund?

    Complete a PE-500X "Amended Real Estate Transfer Return"
    Print and mail the amended eRETR along with:

    • Copy of the recorded deed

    • Information supporting the exemption claimed on the amended transfer return

    • Name(s) to receive the refund

  2. Example: You recorded a deed and paid the transfer fee on the full property value. You now claim Exemption (8) as a gift between parent and child. You must: submit a copy of the deed, evidence of the parent-child relationship, and a copy of Form 709, United States Gift Tax Return, if required by law, to show the conveyance was a gift without consideration.

  3. If a transfer fee is paid in the wrong county, how do you get a refund so the fee can be paid in the correct county?

  4. The county where the deed was incorrectly recorded issues a full refund of the transfer fee paid. The country treasurer does not send the state the improperly paid transfer fee since there is no transfer return recorded for this incorrect county.
    Note: The recording fees paid to the incorrect county are not refundable by the Department of Revenue.

Relocation Industry

  1. In the relocation industry, companies usually take a deed as the grantee and a deed with no grantee listed. The grantor is paid and moves away. The relocation company puts the property on the market and at a later date sells it to another party and only records the deed to the new grantees. How may transfer fees are due?

  2. One transfer fee is due. Since the relocation company does not record the deed to itself, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue does not charge a second fee. The transfer to the relocation company is clearly a conveyance, but since the deed is not recorded there is no transfer fee due under state law (sec. 77.22(1), Wis. Stats.).

    Note: If the relocation company records the deed to itself and at a later date sells the property to a third party, two transfer fees are due (both deeds are subject to a transfer fee). The second deed from the relocation company to a third party does not qualify for the use of Exemption 9 (agent to principal) since the relocation company did not buy this property as an agent for the third party.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

MS 6-97
WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Local Government Services Bureau
PO Box 8971
Madison, WI 53708-8971
Phone: (608) 264-6885 or (608) 266-1594
Fax: (608) 264-6897
Email additional questions to DORERealEstateTransfer@wisconsin.gov

​May 4, 2016