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GA Blog: State issues

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1.14.19 Local News: Boston Officials Propose New Taxes on Some Real Estate Deals to Pay for More Housing

In the thick of an affordable housing crisis that has taken hold across Greater Boston, city councilors have proposed levying fees on high-end real estate deals to help pay for more housing -- part of a bold and controversial movement across the region to tax developers who have been profiting off of a historic building boom. 

The proposal would set a tax of up to 6 percent on many commercial and residential sales over $2 million and establish a "flipping" tax of up to 25 percent on some properties that are sold twice within two years. It's a bid to stem speculation and profiteering in Boston's red-hot real estate market, the councilors say, and could raise anywhere from $175 million to $350 million a year.  

More on these proposed taxes from The Boston Globe.


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1.2.19 State News: Important Information on the New MA Short-Term Rentals Law

Governor Charlie Baker has signed into law a bill regulating and taxing short-term rentals. The timeline for implementation of the law will pose significant challenges for REALTORS® conducting short-term rentals in 2019. The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® has created a helpful Q&A to provide REALTORS® with an overview of the new law that goes fully into effect in July. MAR has also posted the following documents to help manage short-term rentals: 

- Updated Short-Term Rental Lease
- Community Impact Fee Form
- 14-day Exemption Form
- Required Insurance Disclosure Form

These forms and more information on the impacts of the new law are available here from MAR


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12.20.18 State News: Massachusetts Lawmakers Reach Short-Term Rental Agreement

With the clock ticking on the end of the two-year session, House and Senate leaders finalized a deal Thursday to tax and regulate short-term housing rentals through websites like Airbnb, reviving a bill that passed in July but was imperiled by concerns raised by Gov. Charlie Baker.

The new version still would apply the 5.7 percent hotel and motel room tax to units rented on a short-term basis. Legislative leaders, however, agreed to a change proposed by Baker that would exempt homeowners who rent out their units for 14 or fewer days a year from having to collect the tax.

The House and Senate also agreed to postpone an extra Boston Convention and Exhibition Center financing fee on short-term units rented in Boston, Cambridge, Worcester, Springfield, West Springfield and Chicopee for about 10 years, or until the bonds on the BCEC are paid.

The bill reached Baker’s desk Thursday night, giving the governor 10 days to review the final redraft and decide whether to sign this new version. The new legislative session begins on Jan. 2, and Baker gets sworn in for his second term on Jan. 3.

More here from Commonwealth Magazine and the State House News Service.


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12.4.18 State News: There's A Housing Stalemate on Beacon Hill

From The Boston Globe: Governor Charlie Baker’s Act to Promote Housing Choices looks like a modest proposal. It would allow communities to change some zoning rules with a simple majority vote, instead of requiring — as state law does — two-thirds of a local government’s council or town meeting to agree.

But a year after Baker pitched the idea, it remains in legislative limbo, having fizzled out at the end of the formal session this summer. Now its backers, including Baker, are trying to move it through informal sessions — when a single “no” vote can torpedo a bill — hoping to get the change on the books in time for next spring’s round of town meetings.

Housing Choice

 Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Housing Choice Initiative | Mass. gov

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12.4.18 State News: Governor Baker Alone with Optimsim Over Airbnb Bill

Lawmakers last week breathed new life into a consumer credit protection bill that was left unfinished when formal legislative business ended in July, but the near-term prospects for a home rental regulation bill that also came up short in July appear less bright.

Lawmakers on Beacon Hill have been struggling for years to develop a system to tax and regulate short-term rentals through websites like Airbnb. The House and Senate each passed competing proposals this session and entered into negotiations on a compromise in April. An agreement was struck during the final days of formal business, and Gov. Charlie Baker returned the bill with an amendment that still has not been taken up.

More from the State House News Service.


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11.20.18 Local News: US Treasury to Scrutinize All-Cash Home Sales in Boston

The US Treasury Department has added Suffolk and Middlesex Counties to a program that requires people who buy homes with cash through shell companies to share their name with the government. It’s a bid to combat money laundering in high-end real estate, which critics say is becoming increasingly popular with buyers who can hide their identity behind a limited liability company or other shell entity.

More from The Boston Globe.


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