Pennsylvania realty transfer tax is imposed at a rate of 1 percent on the value of real estate (including contracted-for improvements to property) transferred by deed, instrument, long-term lease or other writing. Both grantor and grantee are held jointly and severally liable for payment of the tax.
Pennsylvania realty transfer tax is collected along with an additional local realty transfer tax, by county Recorders of Deeds. The Cumberland County Recorders of Deeds remits the commonwealth's 1 percent to the Department of Revenue, and the local portion is distributed among school districts and municipalities.
Some real estate transfers are exempt from realty transfer tax, including certain transfers among family members, to governmental units, between religious organizations, to shareholders or partners and to or from nonprofit industrial development agencies. Deeds to burial sites, certain transfers of ownership in real estate companies and farms and property passed by testate or intestate succession are also exempt from the tax. For more information on exemptions, please visit the Department of Revenue's website.