Dec. 5, 2017

Guaranty Assessment Recoupment Fee Set at $4.50 Per Policy During 2018; Guaranty Fee Suspended During That Time

Texas Land Title Association | Dec. 1, 2017
As TLTA reported in a Breaking News report on Friday, Dec. 1, TDI Commissioner Kent Sullivan issued an order on Nov. 30 setting a Guaranty Assessment Recoupment Charge (GARC). Beginning Jan. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2018, title agents will be required to collect a GARC Fee of $4.50 on each owner and loan policy. This fee must be rendered quarterly to the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association (TTIGA). Exhibit B of the Commissioner's Order includes the Guaranty Assessment Recoupment Charge Remittance Form that title agents should use to remit the charge. You can view that form on pages 11-12 of the Order. 
During the last GARC process, there was some confusion about whether the "closing date" or the "disbursement date" should be used when determining whether or not the new fee applies to the transaction. According to TDI, TTIGA's direction provided in their last set of FAQs on the subject are correct and still apply, "The charging of the...Fee is determined by the closing date, or more specifically, the date the closing documents are signed." (TTIGA's FAQs, emphasis added.)
Additionally, while the GARC Fee is in place, beginning Jan. 1, 2018, the Guaranty Fee will be lowered from the current $3 per policy charge to $0.
While the GARC Fee will function in a similar manner to the current Guaranty Fee, it's important to note that they are two different fees.
The GARC Fee:
  • Will be due to TTIGA from Jan. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2018.
  • Will be $4.50 during this time period.

The Guaranty Fee:
  • Is being suspended starting Jan. 1, 2018 while the GARC Fee is in place.
  • Is now $3 but will be $0 during this time period.

Read the Commissioner's Order »

Tax News: Senate Passes Tax Bill With Sweeping Changes

 James E. Hyland, Esq. | The Pennsylvania Group and TLTA Federal Legislative Counsel
Around 2 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive tax bill numbering approximately 500 pages. The bill underwent many revisions late into the day in order to secure 51 GOP votes. No Democrat voted for the bill on final passage. 

The legislation will now go to a conference with the U.S. House. We expect it will be concluded quickly, within a week or two at most. Both Houses will still have to pass it again as a Conference Report before it goes to the President’s desk. Central features of the bill are a large reduction in the corporate tax rate, to 20 percent from the current 35 percent, and a doubling of the standard deduction for individuals and families. 

The title industry has been carefully reviewing provisions impacting real estate and small businesses and is still assessing the full bill.
Read More »

CFPB News: Trump Picks Hensarling Aide to Help Mulvaney Lead CFPB

HousingWire | Dec. 1, 2017
While Democrats vow that they’re not ready to hand the leadership of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over to Mick Mulvaney without a fight, the Trump administration is moving forward with helping Mulvaney staff up in his new position.

Mulvaney, who also serves as director of the Office of Management and Budget, was chosen to serve as acting director of the CFPB late last week when the agency’s previous director, Richard Cordray, stepped down.

Cordray appointed Leandra English to serve as acting director to “ensure a smooth transition,” but a federal judge sided with Trump, handing control to Mulvaney until the Senate confirms a permanent CFPB director.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House tapped Brian Johnson, a Republican congressional lawyer and an ally of House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, to help Mulvaney run the CFPB.
Read More »

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