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Critics seek to close tax loophole

Palm Beach Post reporter Jeff Ostrowski reports that "trophy properties" in Florida are changing hands, legally, for $10 and costing the state millions in tax revenue. Commercial property deals are being recorded as "transfers of assets" instead of actual sales. In the case of a $600 million property, 70 cents in taxes were collected as opposed to the $4.2 million which would have been generated by a proper sale. "In a unanimous ruling in 2005, the Florida Supreme Court called the practice of avoiding documentary stamp taxes legitimate, so long as the deals meet a few legal tests. But with state and municipal governments facing a budget squeeze, critics say lawmakers should close the loophole."

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