O’Brien: ‘Time To Collect’ Unpaid Transfer Taxes From Fannie, Freddie

Highly vocal Southern Essex District Register of Deeds John O’Brien thinks Massachusetts should be more like Michigan when it comes to dealing with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In a statement released this morning, O’Brien called on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to pay real estate transfer taxes on properties sold in Massachusetts, just as they are now required to do in Michigan after a federal court found the GSEs were not “exempt” entities from excise and real estate transfer taxes.

In March, O’Brien asked the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) to reverse a policy that allowed Fannie and Freddie to claim exemptions from the transfer taxes that sellers of real estate in the commonwealth are required to pay.

He said today the DOR’s decision is taking too long.

“If I had the authority to do this, my Registry alone would have collected over $200,000 in tax revenue from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac since March of this year,” O’Brien said in a statement. “These privately-owned companies are claiming false exemptions and cheating the citizens of this commonwealth from much needed tax revenue.”

“Fannie and Freddie are private corporations that are traded on the New York Stock Exchange. These entities have even told Congress that Congress has no control over their salaries or any right to invoke the freedom of information laws as it relates to them,” O’Brien continued. “Other counties like New Castle County, Delaware, have also ruled that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will no longer be exempt from the transfer taxes on homes that they are selling and are now collecting the tax from them. It’s time Massachusetts does the exact same thing. We have the law and a Michigan federal judge on our side; it is time to collect this transfer tax. This is taxpayer’s money that is needed and could be used to finance key services in our state.”

SOURCE: http://www.bankerandtradesman.com