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Real Estate Buyer Alert: Miami-Dade County Commercial Surtax Applies to Certain Bulk Condominium Purchases

September 9, 2016
Nicole Villaroel

Under Section 201.02 and 201.031 of the Florida Statutes, certain counties are authorized to levy a surtax on documents that transfer interest in Florida real property. However, transfers of interest in single-family residences are exempt from this documentary surtax. The tax applies to deeds and other instruments related to real property in an amount not to exceed $0.45 per $100.00.

In 1984, Miami-Dade County exercised this authority, established a Housing Assistance Loan Trust Fund, and implemented the Documentary Surtax Program. This program benefits very low to moderate-income families. Very low-income families have incomes of 50% or less of the median area income. Low-income families are those households with incomes of 80% or less of the median area income. Moderate-income families have incomes greater than 80% but less than 140% of the median area income.

Recently, Miami-Dade County narrowly interpreted the commercial surtax statute to include a bulk purchase of condominiums in one deed, or even two townhome units in one deed. In the interest of enhancing the good cause of subsidizing affordable housing, the County has interpreted the statute to apply surtax to a bulk purchase of condominiums (in one deed) or any single deed that includes more than one residential unit. However, if a separate deed is prepared and recorded for each unit, the County does not charge a surtax as it falls into the exception. There is also surtax on a deed for a vacant lot, even if residential. The statute does not currently require a Certificate of Occupancy, but the County may continue to follow its narrow interpretation and assess the surtax if there is no Certificate of Occupancy.

  • Nicole Villaroel is a real estate attorney at Olive Judd. She focusesĀ her practice on commercial and residential real estate transactions.