Lame-duck Congress a concern for owners

Though the news spotlight has been on the presidential debates and the Nov. 6 elections, a more pressing personal issue for large numbers of homeowners across the country involves the lame-duck congressional session scheduled to begin Nov. 13. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.



Lame-duck Congress a concern for owners

Posted 10/15/12

Though the news spotlight has been on the presidential debates and the Nov. 6 elections, a more pressing personal issue for large numbers of homeowners across the country involves the lame-duck congressional session scheduled to begin Nov. 13.

Along with the federal budget, billions in tax increases, draconian spending cuts and efforts to avoid the “fiscal cliff” looming Dec. 31, the lame-duck session is expected to answer what’s estimated to be a multibillion-dollar question for housing: Will Congress renew the mortgage debt forgiveness tax provisions for owners whose mortgage lenders agree to write off portions of their debt, either as part of loan modifications, foreclosures, short sales or deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure? Without an extension, borrowers who receive reductions in principal next year would be hit with federal income taxes at their regular marginal rates on the amounts forgiven.

The lame-duck session also will have to deal with a slew of other real estate-related issues including write-offs for mortgage insurance premiums, tax benefits for homeowners who install energy-saving improvements, tax credits for builders of energy-efficient new houses, and extension of current relief for middle-income taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax (AMT), among others.

While President Barack Obama, Republican challenger Mitt Romney and most members of Congress have been campaigning, staffs of key House and Senate tax and finance committees – along with hordes of lobbyists – have been working out game plans for the lame-duck session. One key piece of strategy: Could the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012 – which passed the Senate Finance Committee in August and includes mortgage forgiveness relief and other housing-related tax extensions along with AMT relief, research and development tax credits and dozens of other targeted tax benefits – be treated as a stand-alone bill? If not, there’s a strong risk of it getting caught up in the much larger partisan fights over spending, the federal debt ceiling and the whole fiscal cliff debate.

Here’s a quick overview of some of what’s at stake in all this for homeowners:

• Mortgage debt tax relief. Besides the Senate Finance Committee’s bill awaiting action in that chamber, there are at least four separate bills that have been introduced in the House that would extend the law. Rep. James McDermott, D-Wash., is sponsoring a bill that would extend the mortgage forgiveness relief through 2015. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., wants to extend it through 2014. Both McDermott and Rangel are members of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., is pushing for a three-year extension, and Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., favors a one-year extension, through 2013.

Next Page
Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

See the List of 2014 Winners. And save the date - September 10th - for the 3rd Annual Fastest Growing & Innovative Companies program at Rosecliff Mansion in Newport.
  • Healthiest Employers
    Thank you to all who attended the 3rd Annual Healthiest Employers Luncheon today ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News
    Advertisement