We were not certain that The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 was going to survive into 2013, regardless of the much ballyhooed fiscal cliff. The Debt Relief Act simply says that you will not pay taxes on the amount of debt you are forgiven if you short sell or foreclose on a home.
The 11th hour congressional extension means homeowners will not have to pay taxes on forgiven mortgage debt from short sales or loan modifications until 2014. The Relief Act was set to expire December 31, 2012.
Without the tax break, a homeowners forgiven debt could be considered taxable income.
“Housing advocates and lawmakers [were] worried that the exemption [would] disappear just as thousands of homeowners [were] receiving large amounts of mortgage debt relief from the nation’s five largest banks as part of a national settlement of foreclosure abuse investigations.” ~ Jim Puzzanghera, Chicago Tribune
The five big banks the reporter for the Tribune is referring to are Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc. As of September 20 last year, the article goes on to say, “Nearly 140,000 homeowners received some type of relief under the settlement, averaging about $76,615 each.”
As we are all well aware, homes today are worth much less than what they were purchased for in the housing bubble. By reducing the value of a troubled mortgage to the current value of a house, banks are frequently able to save themselves money. If the tax break had not been extended, any mortgage debts a bank forgave would then be counted as taxable income. In other words, if a $350,000 mortgage were reduced by the bank to a then current value of $250,000, the happy homeowner would suddenly become the proud owner of a $100,000 income tax bill.
“As a result, a homeowner struggling to pay the bills would be faced with tens of thousands of dollars in taxes. That would destroy any hope of establishing future mortgage debt relief for troubled homeowners, as any bank leniency would result in heavy tax trauma for borrowers.” ~ Zach Carter, The Huggington Post
According to CNN/Money, over 50,000 families lose their homes to foreclosure every month.
A sigh of relief is in order. Whew.
Here is the important take-away: Take advantage of this fiscal-cliff debt relief tax extension…now…while the next 12 months are still in play. Give me a call or drop me an email. I will absolutely sell your home, even if it is short sale.
Choosing an agent is a very personal decision.
[images: cliff (scarto), taxes (donkeyhotey),
home (Evan Courtney), woman (lululemon athletica)]