Pennsylvania realty transfer tax is imposed at a rate of 1 percent on the value of real estate (including contracted-for improvements to property) transferred by deed, instrument, long-term lease or other writing. Both grantor and grantee are held jointly and severally liable for payment of the tax.
Pennsylvania realty transfer tax is collected, often along with an additional local realty transfer tax, by county Recorders of Deeds. The Recorders of Deeds remit the commonwealth's 1 percent to the Department of Revenue, and the locals have the option to share their realty transfer tax among school districts and municipalities.
Some real estate transfers are exempt from realty transfer tax, including certain transfers among family members, to governmental units, between religious organizations, to shareholders or partners and to or from nonprofit industrial development agencies. Deeds to burial sites, certain transfers of ownership in real estate companies and farms and property passed by testate or intestate succession are also exempt from the tax.
While the majority of realty transfer tax is deposited into Pennsylvania's General Fund, 15 percent of collections are dedicated to the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund.
For detailed and historic Pennsylvania realty transfer tax information, please review the Tax Compendium.