DRS: Ruling 90-52, Real Estate Conveyance Tax

 

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SERVICES

450 Columbus Blvd
Hartford CT 06103
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Ruling 90-52

Real Estate Conveyance Tax


ISSUE:

Whether the representative of a decedent's estate conveying what had been, at the time of the decedent's death, the decedent's principal residence, is entitled to claim the exemption from the State real estate conveyance tax provided by Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-498(b)(1) for "deeds of the principal residence of any person approved for assistance under section 12-129b ... for the current assessment year of the municipality in which such person resides ...."

 

FACTS:

  1. The representative of a decedent's estate conveyed real property which had been the decedent's principal residence at the time of her death.
  2. The decedent, at the time of her death, had been "approved for assistance under section 12-129b ... for the current assessment year of the municipality"; Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-498(b)(1).
  3. The decedent had been the sole owner of the property.
  4. The decedent had no surviving spouse.
  5. There was no owner or tenant possessing a joint interest in the property with the decedent.
  6. Both the decedent's death and the conveyance by the representative of the decedent's estate of what, at the time of her death, had been the decedent's principal residence occurred after the effective date of 1989 Conn. Pub. Acts 205.


RULING:

Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-498(b)(1), as amended by 1989 Conn. Pub. Acts 205, 2, exempts from the State real estate conveyance tax "deeds of the principal residence of any person approved for assistance ... for the current assessment year of the municipality in which such person resides ...."

In Plastic Tooling Aids Laboratory, Inc. v. Commissioner, 213 Conn. 365, 369 (1990), the Court discussed "the principles of statutory construction that govern the availability of a tax exemption. First, statutes that provide exemptions from taxation are a matter of legislative grace that must be strictly construed against the taxpayer. Second, any ambiguity in the statutory formulation of an exemption must be resolved against the taxpayer. Third, the taxpayer must bear the burden of proving the error in an adverse assessment concerning an exemption."

With these principles in mind, Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-498(b)(1) requires that the "person approved for assistance", whose principal residence is being conveyed, be residing, as of the time of the conveyance, in the municipality where the principal residence is located. "The tax ... shall not apply to (1) deeds of the principal residence of any person approved for assistance under section 12-129b ... for the current assessment year of the municipality in which such person resides ...." Id. While it is true that the decedent at one time resided in the municipality in which her principal residence was located, it cannot be said that the decedent presently resides in the municipality or that the decedent presently has a principal residence in the municipality.

Whatever legislative purpose was served by the passage of 1985 Conn. Pub. Acts 159, 10, a very different purpose would be served by extending the benefit of this real estate conveyance tax exemption to a decedent's estate. Even the General Assembly extended property tax relief under Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-129b to the decedent only during her lifetime and, upon her death, terminated her estate's entitlement to such relief.

Accordingly, it is hereby ruled that the representative of a decedent's estate is not entitled to claim the exemption from the State real estate conveyance tax provided by Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-498(b)(1) when conveying what had been, at the time of the decedent's death, the decedent's principal residence.


LEGAL DIVISION

June 13, 1990