DOCUMENTARY STAMP TAXES

By: Michael E. Workman, Esq.

If you have bought or sold real property in Florida, or if you have borrowed money in Florida, then you have probably seen references to the collection and payment of documentary stamps taxes. You may have heard them referred to as doc stamps or the stamp tax. Documentary stamps taxes have nothing to do with the preparation of the documents for a real estate closing or a loan, although you may have to pay a separate fee for such services. Instead, they are an excise tax on documents that is payable to the Florida Department of Revenue on documents executed and/or delivered in the State of Florida.

Section 201.01, Florida Statutes (2018), lists the documents that are generally subject to the documentary stamp tax. Common examples of documents subject to the stamp tax are deeds, promissory notes and mortgages. Deeds and other documents that transfer an interest in real property are taxed at a rate of 70 cents per $100, or any fraction thereof, of taxable consideration. Additionally, Miami-Dade County imposes an additional surtax on some transfers of real property. For purposes of calculating documentary stamp taxes on deeds, taxable consideration can include money paid or agreed to be paid, the discharge of an obligation, and the amount of any mortgage or other encumbrance on the real property. Promissory notes and mortgages are taxed at a rate of 35 cents per $100, or any fraction thereof, of the amount of the indebtedness indicated in the document; however, unsecured promissory notes are subject to a maximum documentary stamp tax of $2,450.

Prior to March 31, 1997, the Department of Revenue issued adhesive stamps that were affixed to documents in the appropriate amounts denoting that the documentary stamp taxes had been paid. When these adhesive stamps were used, they were initialed and dated so that they could not be used again. Now, the amount of the documentary stamp taxes is typically calculated and collected by the closing agent and remitted to the Clerk of Court with the deed or mortgage for recording. For unrecorded documents, documentary stamp taxes are remitted to the Department of Revenue using a form prescribed by the department. One of our experienced attorneys can help you with your doc stamp questions, as well as closing your transactions that trigger the payment of doc stamps.

Michael E. Workman is a shareholder with the law firm of Clark, Campbell, Lancaster & Munson, P.A., in Lakeland. Questions can be submitted to thelaw@cclmlaw.com

Mike Workman

Michael Workman first knew he wanted to become both an attorney and CPA during his junior year at Winter Haven High School when he took classes in accounting and business law.Michael accomplished this goal through his studies at Stetson University and the University of Florida College of Law, ultimately being admitted to The Florida Bar in the fall of 1997 and becoming licensed as a CPA by The State of Florida in the spring of 1998.With a background in both law and accounting, Michael planned for his practice to include probate and estate planning, corporate and entity work, and some real estate work.True to plan, that’s exactly how Michael’s career progressed during his first three years of practice with his time being almost evenly divided among those three areas.However, Michael had the opportunity to join Clark Campbell in 2001, and the needs of the firm’s clients coupled with his strong background in title insurance lead to Michael concentrating his practice in the area of real estate law and ultimately becoming Board Certified by The Florida Bar as a specialist in the area of real estate law in 2005.

Michael has been married to his wife Dena since 2003, and they are both very active in the lives of their fraternal twins, John and Sarah.Additionally, Michael has recently participated in several team-building endurance events sponsored by a company called GORUCK.These events are billed as a slice of Special Operations training for civilians where leadership is taught and teamwork is demanded.Michael has learned more about teamwork and bonded more closely with his teammates during these events than would have ever been possible in “normal” everyday life.The saying “one team, one fight” is often heard and repeated during GORUCK events, and Michael seeks to exemplify that same spirit of teamwork in his practice of law.
Mike Workman

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