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Real Estate Withholding

When real estate is sold in Vermont, state income tax is due on the gain from the sale, whether the seller is a resident, part-year resident, or nonresident. If the seller is a nonresident, the buyer is required to withhold 2.5% of the sale price and remit it to the Vermont Department of Taxes.

How to File

For Buyers

Buyers are required to file Form REW-171, with payment, unless a Commissioner’s Certificate has been obtained by the seller exempting them from withholding. This form and payment must be filed within 30 days of the transfer, mail to:

Vermont Department of Taxes
133 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05633

Please note: The buyer does not file this return with the town clerk.

For Sellers

When filing your Vermont Income Tax Return, sellers will want to indicate the Vermont Real Estate Withholding amount as a credit on the appropriate line of the Vermont Form IN-111, VT Real Estate Withholding, of the Payments and Credits section. The amount is shown on Schedule A, Line 12, on form RW-171, the Vermont Withholding Tax Return for Transfer of Real Property, which the buyer must complete and submit at the time of closing. The seller must also include a copy of the first two pages of the federal income tax return and any federal schedule that documents the income or loss from the Vermont sale.

Please note: The seller may obtain a copy of Form RW-171, Vermont Withholding Tax Return for Transfer of Real Property from the buyer at the real estate closing.

It is the practice of the Department of Taxes to allocate real estate withholding in proportion to each seller’s share of the proceeds. If the seller claims a credit of Vermont real estate withholding on the Vermont Income Tax Return that is not proportionate to the seller’s share of the proceeds as reported on the federal Income Tax Return, the Department may adjust the amount of real estate withholding claimed on the Vermont Income Tax Return. If the seller believes he or she is entitled to claim real estate withholding in an amount that is not proportionate to seller’s share of the proceeds, then supporting documentation should be provided.


A seller has two options to file and remit the income tax on the capital gains realized on an installment sale. The seller may elect for Vermont purposes to report the entire gain in the year of sale and pay 6% of the entire capital gain. If the seller chooses the 6% tax, the seller should include a letter with the return asking for 6% Tax Elect Out for Vermont Purposes and attach a copy of Federal Form 6252. The seller should not include the gain from the sale on Schedule IN-113, Income Adjustment Calculations Line 7. If the seller does not make this election the real estate withholding will be retained by the Department and applied as a credit against the seller’s tax liability in each year that an installment is received.


Number Title
FS-1177 Real Estate Withholding
GB-1222 myVTax Guide: Registering an Attorney, Tax Professional, or Landlord Account

Ownership Situations

If two or more persons are joint buyers, each buyer is required to withhold. However, if one of the buyers withholds and remits the required tax to the Department, then the obligation of all buyers is met. If the buyer is a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or fiduciary, it is also obligated to withhold and remit the tax.

Definition of Nonresident

A nonresident individual is one who is domiciled outside of the State of Vermont at the time of closing. A partnership, a limited liability company, or a Sub chapter S Corporation is a nonresident of Vermont if the controlling interest is held by nonresidents. A corporation (other than a Subchapter S Corporation) which was incorporated outside Vermont is a nonresident unless it has its principal place of business in Vermont and does no business in the state of incorporation.

If any of the sellers are nonresidents, then the whole sale is subject to withholding unless the sellers have obtained a Commissioner’s Certificate exempting the Vermont residents.

Exemptions from Real Estate Withholding

Sellers may request a Commissioner’s Certificate to reduce or exempt themselves from the withholding. A Vermont Income Tax Return must be filed within the time prescribed for filing the federal income tax return, even if a Commissioner’s Certificate was obtained for the sale. Any tax liability in excess of withholding must be paid by the seller with the return. Any excess withholding will be refunded to the seller by the Department.

Sellers: Request a Commissioner’s Certificate

Property and Real Estate Transaction Tax Forms and Instructions

Number Instructions Title
Commissioner's Certificate  

All certificate requests must be requested through myVTax

How to request a Commissioner's Certificate

HSD-315   Request For Lister’s Certificate of Housesite Value (Formerly Form PVR-315)
HSD-316   Request For Lister’s Certificate of Housesite Value For A Subdivided Parcel (Formerly Form PVR-316)
LGT-174   Land Gains Installment Payment Voucher


Vermont Land Gains Withholding Tax Return To Be Completed By Buyer (Transferee)
LGT-178 Instructions Vermont Land Gains Tax Return To Be Completed By Seller (Transferor)
LGT-179 Instructions Vermont Land Gains Schedules
LGT-181 Instructions

Land Gains Basis Calculation Foreclosure Property

PTT-172 Instructions

Vermont Property Transfer Tax Return

PTT-173  Instructions Property Transfer Payment Voucher

Additional Transferors And Transferees

PTT-182 Instructions

Property Transfer Controlling Interest

RW-171   Vermont Withholding Tax Return for Transfer of Real Property