Agency Operations

Welcome to Chicago and Commonwealth Land Title Massachusetts

We created this website for our valued Chicago Title Insurance Company and Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company agents throughout Massachusetts.  We pride ourselves on providing our title insurance agents with the right answers, right away.


FIRPTA Withholding Changes - Effective 2-16-2016

PLEASE NOTE: This is an informational bulletin and not tax advice.  Agents are advised to have their customers and clients contact their respective tax professionals for tax advice.


FIRPTA Withholding on Real Estate Sales by Foreign Sellers

The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA), 26 U.S.C. § 1445, has long required a purchaser of U.S. real property from a non-resident foreign seller to withhold a percentage of the amount realized to secure payment of the applicable federal income tax.  Subject to certain exceptions, the amount to be withheld has historically been ten percent (10%) of the gross sales price*. 


"PATH ACT" Increases 10% Withholding to 15% of the Amount Realized On Certain Sales

In December 2015,  new legislation known as the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 ("PATH ACT") changed the FIRPTA withholding requirements, as well as further defining terms, such as "transferee", "transferor", "*amount realized" and "occupancy"; these changes became effective on February 16, 2016.  Notably, Section 324 of the PATH ACT changes the base FIRPTA withholding rate to fifteen percent (15%).


Defined Terms

Withholding amounts vary depending upon whether the transferee (purchaser) is an individual or a partnership, trust, corporation or other entity; the same goes for the transferor (seller).  Occupancy by the purchaser affects the withholding amount and is a very specifically defined term.  And while we generally think of the gross sales price as the figure on which to base the applicability of FIRPTA and the amount withheld, "amount realized" is the defined term, and includes the amount of any liability assumed by the transferee (e.g. a mortgage) or to which the U.S. real property interest is subject immediately before and after the transfer (e.g. a sewer betterment).


TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures

TRID Update

It's been a few months since October 3rd, and the world, as we know it, still exists.  Most of you have had your first TRID closing and have found out that the lenders aren’t anywhere near as prepared as we thought they would be…or hoped they would be.  Another thing that hasn’t changed: Some folks are still making things up and putting things in the wrong places, at least according to the Rule.  But you don’t have to worry, because you have our CFPB/TRID materials at your fingertips!

Thanks to everyone who joined us on December 9th for the seventh and final webinar in our TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Series, entitled “Your Thoughts and Questions”. We reviewed many of the questions you’ve asked us, as well as answering some new questions submitted by you and our colleagues.

For those of you who missed the live presentation, a recording of video and audio is now available on our website, together with the previous webinars:  Let’s Get Started, from May 6th; Changing Our Way of Thinking (The Transactional Perspective), from May 20th; Delivery, from June 10th; ALTA Best Practices: Are You Ready, from August 12th, The Loan Estimate, from September 16th, and The Closing Disclosure, from October 14th and 21st.  You may watch them at your convenience by clicking on CFPB/TRID in the toolbar above, and selecting CFPB/TRID Webinars. 

Questions?  Concerns?  Ideas?  New information from your lenders?  Please let us know – assisting our agents through these changes is our top priority. You may email Sue Ellen Rogal, Esquire by clicking on this link.


Web Based Seminars

Check back here to see when our next webinar will be held. Click here to put your email address on our evite list.

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