MAR just sent a call for action that needs your urgent attention. The Massachusetts Legislature is currently considering a bill that would grant cities and towns the authority to implement a new sales tax on homes, H.1769, An Act Supporting Affordable Housing. Proposals such as this, no matter how well intentioned, will only intensify our housing affordability problems. A sales tax on homes, sometimes referred to as a transfer tax, will increase the bottom-line price of homes, for many by thousands of dollars. This raises the barrier to home ownership and harms the local economy by diverting funds that new home buyers would otherwise use to improve their property. RESPOND to CALL TO ACTION NOW!
The need for affordable housing is a critical in Massachusetts and Berkshire County, but it is incredibly unfair to hit those that are on the cusp of achieving the American dream of home-ownership with a another tax bill for creating affordable housing for an entire community! It is bad tax policy. When an initiative benefits the entire community, it is only fair that the entire community should pay for it.
Currently, the Commonwealth derives revenue from the sale of real estate through the sale of state excise tax stamps. They are typically $4.56 per $1,000 of the sales price, although there are a few counties in Massachusetts that charge more. With passage of this bill, an ADDITIONAL tax of between .5% and 2% of the purchase price of real property could be imposed by any municipally that has an Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Additional recording fees at the time of a property sale are charged for maintaining the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act Trust Fund. Then, homeowners continue to support the town’s efforts through annual property taxes, with many home owners paying yet another additional surcharge of up to 3% for the Community Preservation Act to maintain open space and historic areas. Homeowners are paying far more than their fair share already!