County seeks transfer tax payments

Oakland County officials have filed suit in U.S. District Court against the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac), seeking to recover more than $12 million in unpaid real estate transfer taxes on the sale of mortgage foreclosed properties in the county.

“It’s time for those who caused the foreclosure crisis and the enormous drops in Oakland County property values to pay their fair share,” Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner. “Oakland County taxpayers shouldn’t have to pick up the tab to clean up Fannie and Freddie’s mess.”

Under Michigan’s real estate transfer tax, counties receive $1.10 per $1,000 of value and the state receives $7.50 per $1,000 of value per transaction.

Meisner said lawsuit is based on around 200 real estate transactions over the course of 6 years, each at an average of $100,000 per transaction.

In each of these transactions, he said, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac claimed a governmental exemption to the real estate transfer taxes even though the companies are private, for-profit corporations whose stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Detroit, has assigned to Judge Victoria Roberts.