In recent years, U.S. Homeowners and Homebuyers have been grateful recipients of Popular Tax Benefits that have prevented them from possibly-considerable tax payments to the IRS. They took advantage of other tax programs that created incentives for things like making Energy-Efficient Improvements to your home.
Several of these key measures, however, have expired. They wait for action by Congress to extend them, retroactively.
As detailed by Syndicated Real Estate Writer Kenneth Harney, as found in the Chicago Tribune, one tax benefit applied extensively as the Real Estate Market Tumbled beginning in 2008 was the Mortgage Debt Relief Act. This Law allowed distressed sellers of properties in Short Sales, Foreclosures, or certain Loan Modifications to escape a heavy tax liability on the portion of their mortgage debt forgiven by their lender. Technically, this Act expired at the end of 2014. If not extended in arrears, however, any debt deficiency written off by mortgage lenders could be taxed by the IRS as forgiven debt from any other non-mortgage loan, and at a full tax rate!
The Act has been used by thousands of underwater homeowners over the last few years. The estimated cost to extend the Act through 2016 - $5.1 Billion!
Another popular Tax Incentive offered up to a $500 tax credit - not a deduction - for homeowners who installed certain types of windows and doors, heating and cooling systems, or insulation. A similar tax provision incentives Builders who construct Energy-Efficient Homes.
Yet another incentive provides for Deductibility of Mortgage Insurance Premiums on low-down-payment loans for many Lower and Middle-Income Homebuyers. This deduction is of special benefit to First-Time Homebuyers, who buy their homes with less than 20% Down Payment.
Will these popular tax benefits on Residential Real Estate be Extended? Likely, YES! But most experts expect considerable Lawmaker Debate, and likely passage in late Fall, or perhaps as late as mid-December!
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