H.R. 3648 expires December 31…so what?

Leslie and I spent the day yesterday attending a continuing education class that focused on short sales, and were reminded that a major federal law is expiring at the end of the year that affects homeowners facing financial distress.

This temporary law (Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007) was meant to provide relief to homeowners who were foreclosed upon, or more commonly today, chose to do a short sale.

When debt is forgiven, that forgiven debt is counted as income and is generally taxable. So in layman’s terms, a homeowner who has a $500,000 mortgage but sells his home in a short sale, and his lender gets $400,000 (vice the $500k), that homeowner in the eyes of the IRS received a $100,000 gift which is taxable income. But the Mortgage Debt Relief Act waived that rule for homeowners who’ve suffered financial hardship in this economic downturn and been forced to do a short sale (or foreclosure).

But in less than 5 months, unless Congress acts, homeowners in financial distress will lose that IRS benefit.

With many short sales taking 5 months or longer to close, a lot of homeowners are going to be in for a big shock in January when presented with a huge 1099 and potentially no more relief from the IRS.

A sale of a home, whether a standard sale or a short sale, also involves other tax considerations such as the cost basis of the home, are the loan(s) non-recourse or recourse, etc.  Each homeowner’s situation is different.  Realtors know real estate, but issues such as these require the counsel of a professional tax consultant, or if legal issues are involved, then legal counsel.  Understand that Realtors can not provide this counsel, which is outside their technical area of expertise!


Filed under article topic: Foreclosures,Random Stuff,Short Sales | HAFA program,The Fed & Housing policy
Comments Off on H.R. 3648 expires December 31…so what?

Comments are closed.