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Tennessee Real Estate Transfer Taxes: An In-Depth Guide

Are you a Tennessee home buyer or seller? Either way, you must consider your real estate transfer tax liability before buying or selling your home. Want to learn how much it can cost you? Read our article to learn everything you need to know about real estate tax liability in the Volunteer State.

Are you a Tennessee home buyer or seller? Either way, you must consider your real estate transfer tax liability before buying or selling your home. Want to learn how much it can cost you? Read our article to learn everything you need to know about real estate tax liability in the Volunteer State.

What Are Real Estate Transfer Taxes?

If it’s the first time you hear about transfer taxes, you must familiarize yourself with these taxes because you may have to pay them no matter if you’re a home buyer or seller. Transfer taxes are taxes charged for transferring the title of a property to another owner.

This tax rate is charged on the sale price of your home. Your state, county, and even district may charge you transfer taxes.

Keep in mind that transfer tax rates vary on a state, regional, and local basis. Home buyers and sellers alike should consider consulting a real estate agent to learn and understand their real estate transfer tax liability when selling or buying their property.

Who Pays Transfer Taxes in Tennessee: The Buyer or The Seller?

Tennessee law establishes that either the buyer or seller of a property may cover transfer taxes. Typically, the buyer pays deed transfer taxes in Tennessee.

If you’re a home seller and the buyer is asking you to pay the transfer taxes, you should consider negotiating with the other party. A realtor can help you get an arrangement with the buyer about the payment of the deed transfer taxes from your transaction. The other party may be open to accepting you pay only a portion, offer a discount on the sale price, or even cover the taxes themselves.

How Much Are Transfer Taxes in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, the state charges a transfer tax rate of $0.37 for every $100 of the property sale price. Transfer taxes on a real estate transaction may not exceed $100,000. When a home valued at $300,000 is transferred, the buyer or seller will pay the state about $1,100 in deed transfer taxes.

In order to complete the transfer, the property deed must include an oath from the buyer noting the value of the property. The assessor will use it for the real estate tax assessment. If the tax assessor determines the value is inaccurate, the party under oath could be charged for perjury. Deed transfer taxes are paid at the time of recording the property deed with the local register of deeds office.

Can You Deduct Transfer Taxes?

As a general rule, you can’t deduct transfer taxes from your federal tax return. Yet, home sellers may use it to lower their capital gains tax liability.

When you sell a home, you may be eligible for a capital gains tax exemption of $250,000 or $500,000 (when filing jointly) if you meet the criteria. All home selling profits over that range will be subject to a 25% capital gains tax.

Most real estate investors don’t meet the exemption criteria so they’re on the hook for the capital gain liability on their home selling profits. Even though you can’t deduct your deed transfer taxes, you may add it as part of your property cost basis.

So let’s say that you bought a home for $250,000 and paid $925 in transfer taxes. Your home selling profits will be $290,000 if you sold it for $540,000.

As a single filer who meets the exemption criteria, you would have to pay $10,000 in capital gains liability. If you deduct the transfer taxes, you would only pay $9,075.

Real estate investors may also look into deducting their transfer taxes as a work expense, most of all if the property generates rental income. We recommend you consult a tax professional to learn more about your eligibility to deduct your transfer taxes.

Other Considerations

Besides transfer taxes, you must take into consideration other local tax liabilities you may need to cover as a home buyer or seller. If you are buying a property, you should look into Tennessee's mortgage transfer taxes. The mortgage tax rate in this state is $0.115 for every $100 of the property sale price.

You may be eligible for a $2,000 exemption of your property value. Home buyers and sellers will receive a statement detailing the closing fees and taxes due. Before closing your sale, you should verify the fees included in your closing statement.

Make sure you’re being charged the fees and taxes in accordance with any buyer and seller agreements. If you received a home buyer rebate, you should check that it was applied to your closing costs or as mortgage points depending on your choice. It doesn’t matter if you’re a home seller or buyer, you should consider partnering with an experienced local real estate agent such as one of our Clever Partner Agents.

The right agent will help you navigate and stay on top of everything in a real estate transaction. Our Partner Agents are top performers in their market who can provide step by step guidance through your home selling or buying journey.

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Andrew Schmeerbauch

Andrew Schmeerbauch is the Director of Marketing at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you top agents to save on commission. His focus is educating home buyers and sellers on navigating the complex world of real estate with confidence and ease. Andrew has worked on projects for the United Nations and USC and has a particular passion for investing and finance. Andrew's writing has been featured in Mashvisor, L&T, Ideal REI, and Rentometer.

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