This week one of my sellers sent me an e-mail. She was very upset and worried because someone had sent her an internet rumor. In a nutshell, it said that after 2012 it would be nearly impossible to sell her home since the federal government was going to charge her a 3.8% additional tax on the sale. The message's author said that this tax would apply to ALL home sales from 2013 on and was being used to fund government healthcare. It even gave a link to www.snopes.com so it could be verified.
This is not a new rumor. In fact, I saw some agents posting this same untrue information to various weblogs (including AR). I even heard a local agent in my hometown of Zephyrhills, Florida state that this was indeed what would happen in the future. One could understand laypersons not knowing the details. But REALTORS???? We are supposed to know what is happening in the real estate industry. And further, we are supposed to be honest and truthful.
Now, I know why the local agent said what he did. He has no love for the present administration and was using this "tax" to get his digs in. I certainly have no problem with anyone speaking against or for healthcare or the government officials that supported it. However, do it with facts, not untrue scare tactics that do nothing but frighten sellers & buyers, and make us look ignorant or dishonest. It was clearly evident that some of the blog posters had the same motivation.
The truth is that there will be a tax on some individuals, but it will likely NOT affect most people that you or I know. It will apply to the wealthiest individuals and most of us do not fall into that category. It will be used to help keep Medicare solvent, if I read the information correctly. Personally, I wish I made that much money that I would be affected! I would gladly pay the 3.8% if I were making over $200,000 adjusted gross income each year. Where the agents and the person that sent the email message tried to lead us astray is when they said the tax would apply to ALL HOME SALES (accent on the ALL). It will actually only apply to a few.
The National Association of REALTORS has provided a Question and Answer handout to clarify who will and will not have to pay an additional tax when selling real estate in the future. You can download it by clicking on the following link: Download 3.8% Tax FAQ's If you go to Snopes, they say basically the same thing. To get a second opinion and see what Snopes' response was CLICK HERE
So, if you receive a scary e-mail or hear someone saying that it is what WILL happen, tell them to get the facts. You could also check with your tax preparer. My guess is that either now or very soon, they will have information about this situation that can put your minds at rest.
It is just a shame that some people are frightening innocent sellers and buyers to make some political points. By all means, make all the points you can. But do it honestly using the facts, not half-truths.
JOHN ELWELL - REALTOR at CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc. 813-783-4444 Webpage: www.jelwell.century21bnr.com Licensed in Florida.
John Elwell - REALTOR
Bill Nye Realty, Inc.
Licensed in Florida