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Hunterdon County Clerk
Mary H. Melfi
Hunterdon County Clerk / Registrar of Deeds



For Sale Hunterdon County Clerk
Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What are the Realty Transfer Fee (RTF) Rates?

A1. Effective on deeds that are physically delivered or submitted to the county recording officer on or after August 1, 2004, the Realty Transfer Fee on standard transactions and on "new construction" must be calculated as follows: NOT in Excess of $350,000:

In Excess of $350,000:

A2. Realty Transfer Fee rates on transfers by senior citizens, blind persons, disabled persons and on the transfer of property that is low and moderate income is now calculated as follows: NOT in Excess of $350,000:

In Excess of $350,000:


NOTE: An Affidavit of Consideration (RTF-1) is now required to be affixed to and recorded with all deeds transferring "new construction" in addition to existing claims for a partial exemption. To ensure the proper disposition of Realty Transfer Fees into the appropriate funds, "NEW CONSTRUCTION" must now be printed clearly in upper case lettering on the top of the first page of deeds transferring new construction as well as on the Affidavit of Consideration. Grantors conveying title to new construction who fail to subscribe and append an Affidavit to the deed are guilty of a disorderly persons offense.

Q. Do I have to have an Affidavit of Consideration if the deed says the transfer for is for less than $100?

A. Yes. Chapter 308, Laws of 1991 requires the filing of an affidavit of Consideration (FORM RTF-1) every time an exemption is claimed.

Q. A corrective deed is being recorded to correct the land description. There was an Affidavit of Consideration with the first recording. DO I have to file another RTF-1?

A. Yes, for each recording in which there is a claimed exemption, an Affidavit must be filed.


Q. What exemption do I use to transfer property from a senior citizen to a trust?

A. N.J.A.C. 18:16-5.9 says to use "solely to provide or release security for a debt."

Q. The senior citizen will maintain control over the property. Once his property is in a trust, when he sells, can he have a senior citizen partial exemption?

A. No. A senior citizen exemption is a personal exemption. A trust is a legal entity not entitled to a partial exemption.

Q. A mother and daughter sell a house they own as tenants in common. The mother is over 62 and lives in the house. Can they receive a partial exemption for the mother's share of the home?

A. Yes, as long as the ownership is as tenants in common. The consideration is split; the proportionate share owned by the mother qualifies, for the senior citizen exemption, while the daughter's share does not. Joint tenants must all be age 62 or older in order to qualify for the exemption.

Q. The register of deeds will not split the fee. What can I do?

A. Pay the realty transfer fee, then file a request for a refund with the Division of Taxation. The Claim for Refund form is called "RTF-3" The law requires that the fee be paid before a deed can be recorded.


Q. Property is being sold by the executor of the estate of someone who was over 62 years old. Is this transaction exempt as the sale by an executor, or can the senior citizen partial exemption be claimed?

A. The transfer of property by an executor to the named devisees in a will or to a legal heir in an interstate estate is exempt. The sale of an estate to someone else is not exempt. The senior citizen partial exemption is a personal exemption not given to a decedent or an estate.

Q. My father directed in his will that his property be sold and the money divided between his children. Is such a sale exempt?

A. No. A bequest is to be treated as a gift of money, not real estate. Triplett v. Evins, 93 N.J. Eq. 202, 112, A.509 (1291) affirmed N.J.Eq. 202,115 A.927.

Q. The family home was bequeathed to two brothers and a sister. One of the brothers wants to buy the interest of the other two for $100,000. There is a mortgage with a remaining balance of $21,000 on the property. How is the realty transfer fee calculated?

A. The brother who is buying the interest of the other two owns one-third. The consideration upon which the RTF is calculated is determined by adding two-thirds of the mortgage ($14,000) to the consideration he pays his brother and sister ($100,000), or $114,000.


Q. A father and mother are selling their home to their daughter and son-in-law. Is this transaction exempt?

A. Yes. As parent to child, this is an exempt transaction.

Q. A father is selling his home to his daughter and her live-in boyfriend. Is this exempt?

A. One-half of the consideration is exempt as parent to child. The other one-half is taxable.


Q.We recorded the deed in the wrong county. What can we do?

A. Record the deed in the correct county. The correct county is the one in which the land is located. File an application for a refund with the State (form RTF-3). Also, file an application for a refund of the county portion with the incorrect county.

Q. A deed was received in Atlantic County for property which is located partially in Atlantic County and partially in Cape May County. Does Cape May county get any of the RTF?

A. No. Once the full realty transfer fee is collected, the neighboring county cannot charge an additional fee since the rates are set by statute.

Q.Is there a realty transfer fee on a lease of less than 99 years?

A. No. By definition, a lease of less than 99 years is not a deed for purposes of the realty transfer fee.

Q. Is a Quitclaim Deed exempt?

A. First, make sure it is a true Quitclaim Deed. A Quitclaim Deed conveys only that right, title or interest that the grantor has, or may have and does not warrant that the Grantor has any particular title or legal interest in the property. The deed must say "Quitclaim Deed" with specific language such as, "This deed is called a Quitclaim Deed. the grantor makes no promises as to the ownership of title, but simply transfers whatever interest the Grantor has to the Grantee." An attorney or title company cannot imply that a deed is a Quitclaim Deed. Attorney's often transfer freehold interest on Quitclaim Deeds. Those transfer are taxable transactions.


Q. My client was divorced many years ago. He is deeding his one-half interest in the property to his former wife for $8,000 and an original mortgage of $200,000. Is this transaction exempt as "In specific performance of a final judgment".

A. No. The mere incorporation of the terms of a separation agreement into a judgment of divorce does not alter the "essential consensual character" of the agreement. Thus, for the purposes of the exemption, "In specific performance of a final judgment" may not be used. The only time that this exemption may be used is when the judge orders that the transfer be made in accordance with his orders. The realty transfer fee would be calculated on $8,000 plus one-half of the remaining balance of the mortgage.


Q. Is a non-profit organization exempt? It is exempt from other taxes.

A. No. Unless there is a listed exemption that applies, there are not other exemptions.


In business transactions, the key to the realty transfer fee calculation is the definition of "consideration". Personal exemptions (senior citizen, blind disabled) are not granted to legal entities. Businesses dissolving or liquidating and transferring real estate must pay a RTF on the remaining balance of any mortgages. partnerships buying the interest of one partner must pay a RTF on the proportionate amount of mortgage balance plus any other consideration paid.

Q. There are tax exempt liquidations for Federal purposes. If someone claims a total exemption based on a "351 or 332" liquidation, is the transaction exempt?

A. Section 351 and 332 liquidations are exemptions from Federal income tax which allow a company to transfer all assets and liabilities to a parent company without following the usual rules of adding back depreciation on the disposition of assets. This does not have anything to do with realty transfer fees. N.J.A.C. 18:16-4.10 provides that:

(a) In the case of a transfer of real estate to stockholder(s) by a corporation in liquidation, or to partner(s) by a partnership firm in liquidation, no attempt will be made to project value on the basis of consideration passing between grantor and grantee, since such a transaction, in general, represents a return of capital.
(b) the transfer is not subject to the transfer fee if there is no other "consideration: as defined in the law.
(c) In the event there are no mortgages, liens or other encumbrances on the property, no realty transfer fee will be required to be paid.

Q. I own the company. Why do I have to pay a realty transfer fee to transfer property to my company based on the remaining balance of a mortgage?

A. A partnership is a distinct legal entity for purposes of transferring property. Additionally, exemption statues are strictly construed. If there is no applicable listed exemption, realty transfer fee is to be paid.


Q. Why do I have to have a Sheriff's Affidavit and an Affidavit of Consideration when a federal agency sells property?

A. The Sheriff's Affidavit (Form RFT-8) is a declaration of other liens or mortgages as required by Chapter 225, Laws of 1979. The Affidavit of Consideration claims the exemption from the fee as required by Chapter 308, Laws of 1991.

Q. My client, the bank, is taking back real estate so that we don't have to go to a sheriff's sale. We will eventually cancel the mortgage when we have sold the property and gotten our money back. The register of deeds won't record the deed without a fee.

A. The register of deeds is correct. A realty transfer fee must be paid on the remaining balance of the mortgage if the mortgage is not cancelled. You are seeking to protect your investment by taking the property back and avoiding a sheriff's sale. You are further protecting yourself by holding the mortgage open to maintain a claim against the borrower. The realty transfer laws were not meant to be a guide for business decisions. Unless there is a listed exemption from the realty transfer fee, the fee must be paid.