Genesee Cty, v. Fed. Hous. Fin. Agency, No. 12-2136 (6th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
The Michigan State Real Estate Transfer Tax, MICH.COMP.LAWS 207.521, and the County Real Estate Transfer Tax, section 207.501, impose a tax when a deed or other instrument of conveyance is recorded during the transfer of real property. The tax is imposed upon “the person who is the seller or grantor.” State and county plaintiffs sought to recover transfer taxes for real property transfers recorded by Fannie Mae, a corporation chartered by Congress to “establish secondary market facilities for residential mortgages,” in order to “provide stability in the secondary market for residential mortgages,” and “promote access to mortgage credit throughout the Nation,” 12 U.S.C. 1716; Freddie Mac, also a corporation chartered by Congress for substantially the same purposes; and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, an independent federal agency, created under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, 12 U.S.C. 4617, which placed Fannie and Freddie into conservatorships, 12 U.S.C. 4617(a)(2). When Congress created defendants, it expressly exempted them from “all” state and local taxes except for taxes on real property. The district court entered summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, reasoning that “transfer taxes are excise taxes, not taxes on real property. The Sixth Circuit reversed.