As explained by the Florida Department of Revenue, the state assesses a documentary stamp tax on documents signed or recorded to transfer real estate interests or to evidence or secure financings. 

While all non-exempt parties to a document are liable for this tax, you may assign responsibility for payment in your contract. 

What documents are subject to this tax?  

The state collects this tax on most deeds and other documents that transfer a real estate interest. This obligation extends to transfers of leasehold interests, mobile homes, easements and oil, gas or mineral rights. You may be able to take advantage of limited exemptions that include deeds for specific transfers between spouses or transfers made in probate. 

Promissory notes signed or delivered in the state, as well as mortgages or liens filed and recorded in the state, are also subject to this tax. 

How is this tax calculated for transfers of real estate interests? 

The total “consideration” paid for a real estate interest provides the basis for calculating the tax. In addition to money paid for the transfer, consideration may include an exchange of property, a mortgage or the discharge of an obligation. Most counties assess this tax at the rate of 70 cents for each $100 of consideration. In Miami-Dade County, the tax rate is only 60 cents for each $100, but that county also charges a surtax of 45 cents on each $100 of consideration for transfers not involving single-family homes. 

How is this tax calculated for financings?  

Promissory notes are subject to the tax at a rate of 35 cents for each $100 of underlying loan, up to a maximum of $2,450. Mortgages and liens are also taxed at a rate of 35 cents for each $100 of secured debt, but without a cap. 

You must factor these documentary stamp taxes into your closing costs for real estate and financing transactions.