Update: OK, this was failed in the comments where it has been court-tested and shot down. It does beg the question though: why is MERS continually allowed to skirt property sales tax. The current law has been court-tested and thrown out. It doesn't mean the law cannot be changed to apply to MERS transactions. This is one of the rare opportunities for a State, City, or Municipality to tax Wall Street. The diary was a fail, but the idea (I think) is valid.
Or a big chunk of it, and this is not snark. All it requires is the full application of an existing law: 1966 PA 134:
The clause in question:
REAL ESTATE TRANSFER TAX (EXCERPT)and
Act 134 of 1966
207.503 Instruments executed outside state subject to tax.
There is imposed, in addition to all other taxes, a tax upon all written instruments of the kinds described in section 2 executed without this state if the contract or transfer evidenced thereby concerns property wholly located within this state. Any such instrument shall be subject to all of the provisions of this act.
207.504 Rate of tax; statement on face of written instrument; affidavit.So, how does this save Detroit? Well, google MERS:
The tax shall be at the rate of 55 cents in a county with a population of less than 2,000,000 and not more than 75 cents as authorized by the county board of commissioners in a county with a population of 2,000,000 or more for each $500.00 or fraction thereof of the total value. A written instrument subject to the tax imposed by this act shall state on its face the total value of the real property or there shall be attached to the instrument an affidavit declaring the total value of the real property. The form of the affidavit shall be prescribed by the state tax commission. In the case of the sale or transfer of a combination of real and personal property the tax shall be imposed only upon the transfer of the real property, if the values of the real and personal property are stated separately on the face of the instrument or if an affidavit is attached to the instrument setting forth the respective values of the real and personal property.
Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) is an American privately held company that operates an electronic registry designed to track servicing rights and ownership of mortgage loans in the United States. MERS is owned by holding company MERSCORP, Inc.The question is: How many MERS transactions have paid their property taxes...???
(Personally, i think it is time to examine every MERS entry related to any real estate located within the City and start demanding a full accounting. The burbs and outstate residents might want to get in on this too....)
Update: Technically this is a state tax and not a City tax, so the state could collect it and not use it to the City's benefit, so there is no guarantee.....
Ref: Here is section 2:
207.502 Instruments executed within state subject to tax.
(1) There is imposed, in addition to all other taxes, a tax upon the following written instruments executed within this state when said instrument is recorded.
(a) Contracts for the sale or exchange of real estate or any interest therein or any combination of the foregoing or any assignment or transfer thereof.
(b) Deeds or instruments of conveyance of real property or any interest therein, for a consideration.
(2) The tax shall be upon the person who is the seller or grantor.