Deed Taxes and Recording Costs

Georgia charges a flat fee of $25 per document to record in the real estate records. For e-recording, most counties add fifty cents, (Fulton county adds two dollars), as a convenience fee. There are several e-filing service companies that add their own fees to the cost of recording documents. 

The flat fee is great because we do not have to worry about the number of pages of each document. In the past, Georgia charged $10 for the first page plus $2 for each additional page. The problem was that we often had to provide the recording fees without knowing how many pages were in the documents.

There are two other costs for deeds and security deeds/mortgages.

For a purchase, the county will collect .1% of the sales price as the transfer tax. For a mortgage, the county collects $1.50 for every $500 (or portion thereof) borrowed as the intangible tax.

Of course, there are exceptions to both transfer tax and intangible tax. Transfer tax is not due on several types of conveyances. These include transfers between a couple pursuant to a divorce, part of an inheritance from an estate, deeds in lieu of foreclosure, if a party is a government entity, and if a party is a public authority or nonprofit public corporation. 

The intangible tax applies to all loans secured by real estate that have a maturity date more than three years from the date of the loan. 

Failure to pay the intangible tax due on a security Deed bars any foreclosure of the Security Deed. The lender may foreclose upon paying the required tax due.

Security Deeds/Mortgages must be filed and the intangible tax paid within 90 days of being signed by the borrower. The penalty for filing after 90 days is 50% of the intangible tax due plus monthly interest. 

The exceptions for intangible tax include loans where the lender is a Georgia Credit Union, a Federal Credit Union, the lender is a government entity, the lender is a public nonprofit corporation or the lender is a church.

Intangible tax can be lowered if the loan is a refinance with the original lender. The intangible tax due on a refinance with the original borrower and original lender will be based on the difference between the new loan amount and the current principal balance of the existing loan.    

John C. Bennett is a real estate closing attorney and owner of Origin Title and Escrow, Inc.. Since 2003, Origin Title has handled real estate transactions – purchases, refinances, reverse mortgages – quickly and professionally. There will be no surprises, nothing misunderstood. Title searches are thorough and well-reasoned, to avoid unpleasant surprises later down the road. Calculate your closing costs in Georgia or Florida using our calculator or contact Origin Title using this form.