NH Sen Boutin fulfills promise to protect commercial leases from Real Estate Transfer Tax

The New Hampshire Senate

Republican Majority Office


Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Senate today unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Senator David Boutin (R-Hooksett) that would prevent commercial leases from being taxed as sales under the Real Estate Transfer Tax. SB 232 would clarify New Hampshire’s long-standing law that the RETT does not apply to leases shorter than 99 years. Last year, the Department of Revenue Administration began applying the tax to commercial ground leases of 30 years, without legislative approval.


“Since it was established in 1978, the Real Estate Transfer Tax has applied to the sale of real property, but never applied to commercial leases,” Boutin added. “Only the Legislature can expand the scope or rate of a tax, not the unelected officials at the Department of Revenue Administration.”


Last summer, the DRA sought a change in Administrative Rules to let it collect RETT on commercial ground leases. Boutin led opposition to the rules change, citing the long-standing law that only applied the RETT to leases of 99 years or longer. Faced with this opposition, the DRA withdrew the rules request, only to insist it already had authority to collect taxes on commercial leases. Boutin promised to correct this bureaucratic overreach through legislation.


“It is simply unacceptable for state bureaucrats to rewrite the New Hampshire tax code themselves,” Boutin continued. “Adding an unauthorized tax on commercial leases not only puts a drag on our recovering economy, but undermines confidence in the fairness and stability of New Hampshire’s tax system. I’m pleased the Senate has agreed to correct the DRA’s mistake.”