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2008-10-30 22:41:38

Short Sale Ramifications

Short Sales and Tax Ramifications…

Will My Seller Get A 1099?
 
 
Note: When a seller asks about the tax ramification of doing a short sale (or a foreclosure) you always want to refer them to a CPA or Attorney. Remember, don’t ‘play accountant’ or ‘Attorney’.
 
This information is taken directly from:
 
Fact Sheet: The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007
President Bush Signs Legislation Protecting American Families From Higher Taxes When They Refinance Their Homes
 
Fact sheet President Bush Signs H.R. 3648, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007
 
"When your home is losing value and your family is under financial stress, the last thing you need is to be hit with higher taxes. So I'm working with members of both parties to pass a bill that will protect homeowners from having to pay taxes on cancelled mortgage debt."
 
─ President George W. Bush, 9/1/07
 
Today, President Bush signed the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, which will help Americans avoid foreclosure by protecting families from higher taxes when they refinance their home mortgages. This Act will create a three-year window for homeowners to refinance their mortgage and pay no taxes on any debt forgiveness that they receive. Under current law, if the value of your house declines, and your bank or lender forgives a portion of your mortgage, the tax code treats the amount forgiven as income that can be taxed.
 
    * This Act will increase the incentive for borrowers and lenders to work together to refinance loans and allow American families to secure lower mortgage payments without facing higher taxes.   
 
This Act Is A Good Step To Address The Housing Market, But Congress Has More Work To Do
 
Congress needs to complete work on responsible legislation modernizing the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). This bill will give FHA the necessary flexibility to help hundreds of thousands of additional families qualify for prime-rate financing.
 
Congress needs to pass legislation permitting State and local governments to help troubled borrowers by issuing tax-exempt bonds for refinancing existing home loans. Under current law, cities and States can issue tax-exempt bonds to finance new mortgages for first-time homebuyers.
 
Congress needs to pass legislation to reform Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. GSEs provide liquidity to the mortgage market that benefits millions of homeowners, and it is vital that they operate safely and soundly. The President has called on Congress to pass legislation that strengthens independent regulation of the GSEs and ensures they focus on their important housing mission.
 
The Administration Has Moved Forward On Targeted Actions To Assist Homeowners That The President Announced In August
 
The President and his Administration have launched a new initiative at the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) called FHASecure. FHASecure expands the FHA's ability to offer refinancing by giving it the flexibility to work with homeowners who have good credit histories but cannot afford their current payments. By the end of 2008, the FHA expects this program to help more than 300,000 families refinance their homes.
 
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson have assembled the private-sector HOPE NOW alliance. HOPE NOW recently mailed hundreds of thousands of letters to borrowers falling behind on their payments and is supporting a toll-free mortgage counseling hotline, 1-888-995-HOPE.
 
    * HOPE NOW has developed a plan under which up to 1.2 million homeowners could be eligible for assistance. The HOPE NOW plan will help subprime borrowers who can afford the current, starter rate on a subprime loan, but would not be able to make the higher payments once the interest rate goes up.
 
Next up, article from the IRS.
Here is the link to the IRS web site:
 
Mortgage Workouts, Now Tax-Free for Many Homeowners; Claim Relief on Newly-Revised IRS Form
 
 
Updated with FAQs at bottom — Feb. 28, 2008
 
IR-2008-17, Feb. 12, 2008
 
WASHINGTON — Homeowners whose mortgage debt was partly or entirely forgiven during 2007 may be able to claim special tax relief by filling out newly-revised Form 982 and attaching it to their 2007 federal income tax return, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
 
Normally, debt forgiveness results in taxable income. But under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, enacted Dec. 20, taxpayers may exclude debt forgiven on their principal residence if the balance of their loan was less than $2 million. The limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return. Details are on Form 982 and its instructions, available now on this Web site.
 
“The new law contains important provisions for struggling homeowners,” said Acting IRS Commissioner Linda Stiff. “We urge people with mortgage problems to take full advantage of the valuable tax relief available.”
 
The late-December enactment means that reporting procedures for this law change were not incorporated into tax-preparation software or IRS forms. For that reason, people using tax software should check with their provider for updates that include the revised Form 982. Similarly, the IRS is now updating its systems and expects to begin accepting electronically-filed returns that include Form 982 by March 3. The paper Form 982 is now being accepted, but the IRS reminds affected taxpayers to consider filing electronically, which greatly reduces errors and speeds refunds.
 
The new law applies to debt forgiven in 2007, 2008 or 2009. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, may qualify for this relief. In most cases, eligible homeowners only need to fill out a few lines on Form 982 (specifically, lines 1e, 2 and 10b).
 
The debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve the taxpayer's principal residence and must have been secured by that residence. Debt used to refinance qualifying debt is also eligible for the exclusion, but only up to the amount of the old mortgage principal, just before the refinancing.
 
Debt forgiven on second homes, rental property, business property, credit cards or car loans does not qualify for the new tax-relief provision. In some cases, however, other kinds of tax relief, based on insolvency, for example, may be available. See Form 982 for details.
 
Borrowers whose debt is reduced or eliminated receive a year-end statement (Form 1099-C) from their lender. For debt cancelled in 2007, the lender was required to provide this form to the borrower by Jan. 31, 2008. By law, this form must show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property given up through foreclosure.
 
The IRS urges borrowers to check the Form 1099-C carefully. Notify the lender immediately if any of the information shown is incorrect. Borrowers should pay particular attention to the amount of debt forgiven (Box 2) and the value listed for their home ( Box 7).
 
Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act
FAQ. Here is the IRS site link for this information:http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=179414,00.html
 
Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act
 
 
What is the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007?
The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 was enacted on December 20, 2007 (see News Release IR-2008-17). Generally, the Act allows exclusion of income realized as a result of modification of the terms of the mortgage, or foreclosure on your principal residence.
 
What does that mean?
Usually, debt that is forgiven or cancelled by a lender must be included as income on your tax return and is taxable. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 allows you to exclude certain cancelled debt on your principal residence from income.
 
Does the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 apply to all forgiven or cancelled debts?
No, the Act applies only to forgiven or cancelled debt used to buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence, or to refinance debt incurred for those purposes.
 
What about refinanced homes?
Debt used to refinance your home qualifies for this exclusion, but only up to the extent that the principal balance of the old mortgage, immediately before the refinancing, would have qualified.
 
Does this provision apply for the 2007 tax year only?
It applies to qualified debt forgiven in 2007, 2008 or 2009.
 
If the forgiven debt is excluded from income, do I have to report it on my tax return?
Yes. The amount of debt forgiven must be reported on Form 982 and the Form 982 must be attached to your tax return.
 
Do I have to complete the entire Form 982?
Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness (and Section 1082 Adjustment), is used for other purposes in addition to reporting the exclusion of forgiveness of qualified principal residence indebtedness. If you are using the form only to report the exclusion of forgiveness of qualified principal residence indebtedness as the result of foreclosure on your principal residence, you only need to complete lines 1e and 2. If you kept ownership of your home and modification of the terms of your mortgage resulted in the forgiveness of qualified principal residence indebtedness, complete lines 1e, 2, and 10b. Attach the Form 982 to your tax return.
 
Where can I get this form?
You can download the form at IRS.gov, or call 1-800-829-3676. If you call to order, please allow 7-10 days for delivery.
 
How do I know or find out how much was forgiven?
Your lender should send a Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, by January 31, 2008. The amount of debt forgiven or cancelled will be shown in box 2. If this debt is all qualified principal residence indebtedness, the amount shown in box 2 will generally be the amount that you enter on lines 2 and 10b, if applicable, on Form 982. 
 
Can I exclude debt forgiven on my second home, credit card or car loans?
Not under this provision. Only cancelled debt used to buy, build or improve your principal residence or refinance debt incurred for those purposes qualifies for this exclusion.
 
If part of the forgiven debt doesn't qualify for exclusion from income under this provision, is it possible that it may qualify for exclusion under a different provision?
Yes. The forgiven debt may qualify under the "insolvency" exclusion. Normally, a taxpayer is not required to include forgiven debts in income to the extent that the taxpayer is insolvent. A taxpayer is insolvent when his or her total liabilities exceed his or her total assets. The forgiven debt may also qualify for exclusion if the debt was discharged in a Title 11 bankruptcy proceeding or if the debt is qualified farm indebtedness or qualified real property business indebtedness. If you believe you qualify for any of these exceptions, see the instructions for Form 982.
 
Is there a limit on the amount of forgiven qualified principal residence indebtedness that can be excluded from income?
There is no dollar limit if the principal balance of the loan was less than $2 million ($1 million if married filing separately for the tax year) at the time the loan was forgiven. If the balance was greater, see the instructions to Form 982, page 4.
 
Is there anything else I need to know before filing?
 
Yes. Because the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 was passed so late in the year, the software systems used by tax preparers and at the Internal Revenue Service need to be updated to accept the revised Form 982. The IRS expects to be able to process the new Form 982 electronically on March 3, 2008.
         
 

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