THE END IS NEAR FOR FORGIVENESS
Now that the election is over and I want to make everyone aware that the The Foreclosure
Relief Act expires naturally at the stroke of midnight on December 31st, 2012 which means any short sale closings, deed in lieu of foreclosure, mortgage modifications with principle forgiveness and foreclosures with waivers of defiency, that occur, (which means it closes or is signed off by the
lender) on or after January 1st, 2013 will likely incur ordinary income tax on the borrower.
This IRS ruling on December 20th, 2007 created an opportunity for homeowners to sell their
primary residence less than what was owed, and although they would still receive a 1099 for
the difference but this phantom income was not taxable as if it was income for that year to
the homeowner. This ruling applied to most homeowners since the limit was 2 million. At the time, as a Realtor, is was a huge benefit to give these already distressed homeowners some relief and a little less to worry about. Over the last 5 years, it has been somewhat customary and I’m sure most
Realtors and homeowners do not realize this exemption is almost at it’s end.
As an example, if a homeowner has a $300,000 mortgage and the lender only receives $200,000
and cancels the debt, in a short sale then the seller would receive a 1099 for $100,000 for that
year as if they had received that much income for the year. If that taxpayer pays 15% taxes on their income then they would owe $15,000 in additional taxes. This additional burden would likely prohibit them from getting on their feet and moving past an already horrible situation.
I would encourage all Realtors to contact their congressman and make it known how important
that this Act be extended past this quickly nearing deadline.