IRS Tax Tip 2013-31: Important Facts about Mortgage Debt Forgiveness

If your lender cancelled or forgave your mortgage debt, you generally have to pay tax on that amount. But there are exceptions to this rule for some homeowners who had mortgage debt forgiven in 2012.

Here are 10 key facts from the IRS about mortgage debt forgiveness:

1. Cancelled debt normally results in taxable income. However, you may be able to exclude the cancelled debt from your income if the debt was a mortgage on your main home.

2. To qualify, you must have used the debt to buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence. The residence must also secure the mortgage.

3. The maximum qualified debt that you can exclude under this exception is $2 million. The limit is $1 million for a married person who files a separate tax return.

4. You may be able to exclude from income the amount of mortgage debt reduced through mortgage restructuring. You may also be able to exclude mortgage debt cancelled in a foreclosure.

5. You may also qualify for the exclusion on a refinanced mortgage. This applies only if you used proceeds from the refinancing to buy, build or substantially improve your main home. The exclusion is limited to the amount of the old mortgage principal just before the refinancing.

6. Proceeds of refinanced mortgage debt used for other purposes do not qualify for the exclusion. For example, debt used to pay off credit card debt does not qualify.

7. If you qualify, report the excluded debt on Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness. Submit the completed form with your federal income tax return.

8. Other types of cancelled debt do not qualify for this special exclusion. This includes debt cancelled on second homes, rental and business property, credit cards or car loans. In some cases, other tax relief provisions may apply, such as debts discharged in certain bankruptcy proceedings. Form 982 provides more details about these provisions.

9. If your lender reduced or cancelled at least $600 of your mortgage debt, they normally send you a statement in January of the next year. Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, shows the amount of cancelled debt and the fair market value of any foreclosed property.

10. Check your Form 1099-C for the cancelled debt amount shown in Box 2, and the value of your home shown in Box 7. Notify the lender immediately of any incorrect information so they can correct the form.

Use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov to check if your cancelled debt is taxable. Also, see Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments. IRS forms and publications are available online at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Additional IRS Resources:

Interactive Tax Assistant tool
Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments
Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation
Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness
IRS YouTube Videos:

Mortgage Debt Forgiveness – English | Spanish | ASL

IRS Announces Guidance on the Principal Reduction Alternative Offered in the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)

IR-2013-8, Jan. 24, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced guidance to borrowers, mortgage loan holders and loan servicers who are participating in the Principal Reduction AlternativeSM offered through the Department of the Treasury’s and Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Home Affordable Modification Program® (HAMP-PRA®).

To help financially distressed homeowners lower their monthly mortgage payments, Treasury and HUD established HAMP, which is described at http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov. Under HAMP-PRA, the principal of the borrower’s mortgage may be reduced by a predetermined amount called the PRA Forbearance Amount if the borrower satisfies certain conditions during a trial period. The principal reduction occurs over three years.

More specifically, if the loan is in good standing on the first, second and third annual anniversaries of the effective date of the trial period, the loan servicer reduces the unpaid principal balance of the loan by one-third of the initial PRA Forbearance Amount on each anniversary date. This means that if the borrower continues to make timely payments on the loan for three years, the entire PRA Forbearance Amount is forgiven. To encourage mortgage loan holders to participate in HAMP–PRA, the HAMP program administrator will make an incentive payment to the loan holder (called a PRA investor incentive payment) for each of the three years in which the loan principal balance is reduced.

Guidance on Tax Consequences to Borrowers

The guidance issued today provides that PRA investor incentive payments made by the HAMP program administrator to mortgage loan holders are treated as payments on the mortgage loans by the United States government on behalf of the borrowers. These payments are generally not taxable to the borrowers under the general welfare doctrine.

If the principal amount of a mortgage loan is reduced by an amount that exceeds the total amount of the PRA investor incentive payments made to the mortgage loan holder, the borrower may be required to include the excess amount in gross income as income from the discharge of indebtedness. However, many borrowers will qualify for an exclusion from gross income.

For example, a borrower may be eligible to exclude the discharge of indebtedness income from gross income if (1) the discharge of indebtedness occurs (in other words, the loan is modified) before Jan. 1, 2014, and the mortgage loan is qualified principal residence indebtedness, or (2) the discharge of indebtedness occurs when the borrower is insolvent. For additional exclusions that may apply, see Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions, and Abandonments (for Individuals).

Borrowers receiving aid under the HAMP–PRA program may report any discharge of indebtedness income — whether included in, or excluded from, gross income — either in the year of the permanent modification of the mortgage loan or ratably over the three years in which the mortgage loan principal is reduced on the servicer’s books. Borrowers who exclude the discharge of indebtedness income must report both the amount of the income and any resulting reduction in basis or tax attributes on Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness (and Section 1082 Basis Adjustment).

Guidance on Tax Consequences to Mortgage Loan Holders

The guidance issued today explains that mortgage loan holders are required to file a Form 1099-C with respect to a borrower who realizes discharge of indebtedness income of $600 or more for the year in which the permanent modification of the mortgage loan occurs. This rule applies regardless of when the borrower chooses to report the income (that is, in the year of the permanent modification or one-third each year as the mortgage loan principal is reduced) and regardless of whether the borrower excludes some or all of the amount from gross income.

Penalty relief is provided for mortgage loan holders that fail to timely file and furnish required Forms 1099-C, as long as certain requirements described in the guidance are satisfied.

Details are in Revenue Procedure 2013-16 available on IRS.gov.

AMERICAN TAXPAYER RELIEF ACT-SUMMARY FOR KATHERMAN KITTS CLIENTS READING PLEASURE

Yesterday, the President signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which was passed on New Year’s Day. Here is brief summary of selected portions of it, for your review. We can help answer any questions that you may have.

Individual Tax Rates
The Act preserves and permanently extends the Bush-era income tax cuts except for single individuals with taxable income above $400,000; married couples filing joint returns with taxable income above $450,000; and heads of household with taxable income above $425,000. Income above these thresholds will be taxed at a 39.6 percent rate, effective January 1, 2013. The $400,000/$450,000/$425,000 thresholds will be adjusted for inflation after 2013.
The new law, however, does not extend the payroll tax holiday. Effective January 1, 2013, the employee-share of Social Security tax withholding increased from 4.2% to 6.2% (its rate before the payroll tax holiday).

Capital Gains and Dividend Tax Rate
Effective January 1, 2013, the maximum tax rate on qualified capital gains and dividends rises from 15 to 20 percent for taxpayers whose taxable incomes exceed the thresholds set for the 39.6 percent rate (the $400,000/$450,000/$425,000 thresholds discussed above). The maximum tax rate for all other taxpayers remains at 15 percent; and moreover, a zero-percent rate will continue to apply to qualified capital gains and dividends to the extent income falls below the top of the 15- percent tax bracket. Note – The 2010 Affordable Care Act imposes a 3.8% Medicare tax on interest, dividends, capital gains, and other passive income, starting in 2013, and it applies at taxable income over $200,000 for single filers and over $250,000 for joint filers.

Estate and Gift Tax
Federal transfer taxes (estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes) seem to have been in a constant state of flux in recent years. The Act provides some certainty. Effective January 1, 2013, the maximum estate, gift and GST tax rate is generally 40 percent, which reflects an increase from 35 percent for 2012. The lifetime exclusion amount for estate and gift taxes is unchanged for 2013 and subsequent years at $5 million (adjusted for inflation). The GST exemption amount for 2013 and beyond is also $5 million (adjusted for inflation). The new law also makes permanent portability and some enhancements made in previous tax laws.

Other Act Elements Affecting Individuals
• AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) – Higher exemptions are made permanent, and indexed for inflation
• IRA distributions to charitable organizations, (for those over age 70) – restored through 2013
• Exclusion for cancellation of debt on principal residence – extended through 2013
• Reduction of itemized deductions for incomes over certain levels, (which was not in place since 2010) – will apply starting in 2013

Business Tax Provisions
Code Sec. 179 business equipment expensing. In recent years, Congress has repeatedly increased dollar and investment limits under Code Sec. 179 to encourage spending by businesses. For tax years beginning in 2010 and 2011, the Code Sec. 179 dollar and investment limits were $500,000 and $2 million, respectively. [This means that you can expense up to $500,000 of equipment or software purchased, so long as you don’t spend more than $2 million in total. Expenditures over the $2 million level reduces the allowable expense amount dollar-for-dollar.] The Act restores the dollar and investment limits for 2012 and 2013 to their 2011 amounts ($500,000 and $2 million) and adjusts those amounts for inflation. However, this increase is temporary. The Code Sec. 179 dollar and investment limits are scheduled, unless changed by Congress, to decrease to $25,000 and $200,000, respectively, after 2013. The new law also provides that off-the-shelf computer software qualifies as eligible property for Code Sec. 179 expensing. The software must be placed in service in a tax year beginning before 2014. Additionally, the Act allows taxpayers to treat up to $250,000 of qualified leasehold and retail improvement property as well as qualified restaurant property, as eligible for Code Sec. 179 expensing.

Bonus depreciation. Bonus depreciation of business equipment is one of the most important tax benefits available to businesses, large or small. In recent years, bonus depreciation has reached 100 percent, which gave taxpayers the opportunity to write off 100 percent of qualifying asset purchases immediately. For 2012, bonus depreciation remained available but was reduced to 50 percent. The Act extends 50 percent bonus depreciation through 2013. The Act also provides that a taxpayer otherwise eligible for additional first-year depreciation may elect to claim additional research or minimum tax credits in lieu of claiming depreciation for qualified property.

While not quite as attractive as 100 percent bonus depreciation, 50 percent bonus depreciation is valuable. For example, a $100,000 piece of equipment with a five-year MACRS life would qualify for a $55,000 write-off: $50,000 in bonus depreciation plus 20 percent of the remaining $50,000 in basis as “regular” depreciation, with the half-year convention applied in the first and last year.

Bonus depreciation also relates to the passenger vehicle depreciation dollar limits under Code Sec. 280F. This provision imposes dollar limitations on the depreciation deduction for the year in which a taxpayer places a passenger automobile/truck in service within a business and for each succeeding year. Because of the new law, the first-year depreciation cap for passenger automobile/truck placed in service in 2013 is increased by $8,000.

Bonus depreciation, unlike Code Sec. 179 expensing, is not capped at a dollar threshold. However, only new property qualifies for bonus depreciation. Code Sec. 179 expensing, in contrast, can be claimed for both new and used property and qualifying property may be expensed at 100 percent.

Research Tax Credit. The research tax credit was restored for 2012 and extended through 2013.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Watch Out Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act is A Federal Provision. Does Your State Comply?

The facts listed below are good to know.  However, it’s just as important to realize that the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act is a federal provision.  If you are thinking that your mortgage debt forgiveness wont cause you a tax problem, better check out the state rules before you come to that conclusion. 

In California for example:

“For tax year 2009, California does not conform to the federal Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act which applies to discharges occurring in 2007 through 2012. 1 Amounts excluded for federal income tax purposes must be added to income for California tax purposes.”

1 Federal law initially applied to discharges occurring from 2007 through 2009 (the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, Public Law 110-142, December 20, 2007). Federal mortgage forgiveness debt relief was subsequently extended to apply to discharges occurring from 2009 through 2012 (the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, Public Law 111-5, October 3, 2008).

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Ten Facts about Mortgage Debt Forgiveness 

If your mortgage debt is partly or entirely forgiven during tax years 2007 through 2012, you may be able to claim special tax relief and exclude the debt forgiven from your income. Here are 10 facts the IRS wants you to know about Mortgage Debt Forgiveness.

  1. Normally, debt forgiveness results in taxable income. However, under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to exclude up to $2 million of debt forgiven on your principal residence.
  2. The limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return.
  3. You may exclude debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in a foreclosure.
  4. To qualify, the debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence and be secured by that residence.
  5. Refinanced debt proceeds used for the purpose of substantially improving your principal residence also qualify for the exclusion.
  6. Proceeds of refinanced debt used for other purposes – for example, to pay off credit card debt – do not qualify for the exclusion.
  7. If you qualify, claim the special exclusion by filling out Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness, and attach it to your federal income tax return for the tax year in which the qualified debt was forgiven.
  8. Debt forgiven on second homes, rental property, business property, credit cards or car loans does not qualify for the tax relief provision. In some cases, however, other tax relief provisions – such as insolvency – may be applicable. IRS Form 982 provides more details about these provisions.
  9. If your debt is reduced or eliminated you normally will receive a year-end statement, Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, from your lender. By law, this form must show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property foreclosed.
  10. Examine the Form 1099-C carefully. Notify the lender immediately if any of the information shown is incorrect. You should pay particular attention to the amount of debt forgiven in Box 2 as well as the value listed for your home in Box 7.

For more information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, visit IRS.gov. A good resource is IRS Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments. Taxpayers may obtain a copy of this publication and Form 982 either by downloading them from IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Links:

Obama administration Kicks off Mortgage Modification Conversion Drive

[Stacie says: I didn't have time to write up the post I wanted for today. However, I did read this informative news release about modified mortgages. ]

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today kick off a nationwide campaign to help borrowers who are currently in the trial phase of their modified mortgages under the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) convert to permanent modifications. The modification program, which has helped over 650,000 borrowers, is part of the Administration’s broader commitment to stabilize housing markets and to provide relief to struggling homeowners and is a primary focus of financial stability efforts moving forward. Roughly 375,000 of the borrowers who have begun trial modifications since the start of the program are scheduled to convert to permanent modifications by the end of the year. Through the efforts being announced today, Treasury and HUD will implement new outreach tools and borrower resources to help convert as many trial modifications as possible to permanent ones.

“We are encouraged by the pace at which trial modifications are now being made to provide immediate savings to struggling homeowners,” said the new Chief of Treasury’s Homeownership Preservation Office (HPO), Phyllis Caldwell. “We now must refocus our efforts on the conversion phase to ensure that borrowers and servicers know what their responsibilities are in converting trial modifications to permanent ones.” In her new role, Caldwell will lead HPO’s conversion drive efforts.

“Encouraging borrowers to move through the process of converting trial modifications to permanent modifications remains a top priority for HUD,” said HUD Assistant Secretary for Housing and FHA Commissioner David Stevens. “As a part of our continuing efforts to improve the execution of the HAMP program, HUD is committed to working with servicers, borrowers, housing counselors and others dedicated to homeownership preservation to improve the transition of distressed homeowners into affordable and sustainable mortgages.”

With tens of thousands of trial modifications being made each week, the Administration is now working to ensure that eligible borrowers have the information and the assistance needed to move from the trial to the permanent modification phase. (All mortgage modifications begin with a trial phase to allow borrowers to submit the necessary documentation and determine whether the modified monthly payment is sustainable for them.) As the first round of modifications convert from the trial to permanent phase, the Administration has identified several strategies for addressing the challenges that borrowers confront in receiving permanent modifications.
In addition to the conversion drive that kicks off today, the Obama Administration has already taken several steps to make the transition from trial to permanent modification easier and more transparent by:

Extending the period for trial modifications started on or before September 1st to give homeowners more time to submit required information;

Streamlining the application process to minimize paperwork and simplify the submission process; meeting regularly with servicers to identify necessary improvement to borrower outreach and responsiveness;

Developing operational metrics to hold servicers accountable for their performance, which will soon be reported publicly;

Enhancing borrower resources on the MakingHomeAffordable.gov website and the Homeowner’s HOPETM Hotline (888-995-HOPE) to provide direct access to tools and housing counselors.

The Mortgage Modification Conversion Drive will include the following:
Servicer Accountability. As part of the Administration’s ongoing efforts to hold servicers accountable for their commitment to the program and responsibility to borrowers, the following measures will be added:

Top servicers will be required to submit a schedule demonstrating their plans to reach a decision on each loan for which they have documentation and to communicate either a modification agreement or denial letter to those borrowers. Treasury/Fannie Mae “account liaisons” are being assigned to these servicers and will follow up daily as necessary to monitor progress against the servicer’s plan. Daily progress will be aggregated by the end of each business day and reported to the Administration.

Servicers failing to meet performance obligations under the Servicer Participation Agreement will be subject to consequences which could include monetary penalties and sanctions.

The December MHA Servicer Performance Report will include the data on permanent modifications as well as the number of active trial period modifications that may convert by the end of the year if all borrower documents are successfully submitted, sorted by servicer and date.

Servicers will be required to report to the Administration the status of each modification to provide additional transparency about situations where borrowers face obstacles to moving to the permanent phase.

Web tools for borrowers. Because the document submission process can be a challenge for many borrowers, the Administration has created new resources on http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/ to simplify and streamline this step. New resources include:

Links to all of the required documents and an income verification checklist to help borrowers request a modification in four easy steps;

Comprehensive information about how the trial phase works, what borrower responsibilities are to convert to a permanent modification, and a new instructional video which provides step by step instruction for borrowers;

A toolkit for partner organizations to directly assist their constituents;

New web banners and tools for outreach partners to drive more borrowers to the site and Homeowner’s HOPETM Hotline (888-995-HOPE).

Engagement of state, local and community stakeholders. Through the conversion drive, the Administration is engaging all levels of government – state, local and county – to both increase awareness of the program and expand the resources available to borrowers as they navigate the modification process.

HUD will engage staff in its 81 field offices to distribute outreach tools. HUD will also encourage its 2700 HUD-Approved Counseling Organizations to distribute outreach information to participating borrowers.

By engaging the National Governors Association (NGA), National League of Cities (NLC) and National Association of Counties (NACo) the Administration is connecting with the thousands of state, local, and county offices on the frontlines in large and small communities across the country who are hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. These offices will now have the tools to increase awareness of the program, connect with and educate borrowers and grassroots organizations on how to request a modification and take the additional steps to ensure they are converted to permanent status; and serve as an additional trusted resource for borrowers who are facing challenges with the program.

In partnering with the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators, state regulators will now have enhanced tools to assist borrowers who are facing challenges in converting to a permanent modification and to report to the Administration on the progress and challenges borrowers and servicers are facing on the ground. Regulators will also be empowered to work directly with escalation and compliance teams to ensure that HAMP guidelines are consistently applied.

More information about the Obama Administration’s mortgage modification program can be found at http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/.

Has Your Mortgage Debt Been Forgiven? Here Are Some Things You Should Know

[Stacie says: Here are some helpful tips that are part of the Internal Revenue Service's Summer Tax Tips series. Definitely worth the read. For more information see also my blog Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions, and Abandonments]

There is tax relief for struggling homeowners. If your mortgage debt is partly or entirely forgiven at any time during 2007 through 2012, you may be able to claim special tax relief on your federal income tax return for that year.

Here are six things the IRS wants you to know about mortgage debt forgiveness.

1. Normally, debt forgiveness results in taxable income. However, under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to exclude from tax up to $2 million of debt forgiven on your principal residence. The limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return.

2. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, may qualify for this relief.

3. The debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve your 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.

4. Debt forgiven on second homes, rental property, business property, credit cards or car loans does not qualify for the tax-relief provision. In some cases, other kinds of tax relief – based on insolvency, for example – may be available.

[Stacie says: The following worksheet can be used to calculate the extent that you were insolvent.]
[Click on the picture to enlarge]

5. If your debt is reduced or eliminated you should receive a Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, from your lender. By law, this form must show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property given up through foreclosure.

6. Taxpayers who qualify claim the special exclusion by filling out Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness, and attaching it to their federal income tax return for the year.

For more information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, visit the IRS Web site at IRS.gov. A good resource is IRS Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments. This publication and Form 982 can be downloaded from IRS.gov or ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Links:
IRS Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments (PDF)
Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness (PDF)

Home Foreclosure and Debt Cancellation

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualify for this relief.
This provision applies to debt forgiven in calendar years 2007 through 2012. Up to $2 million of forgiven debt is eligible for this exclusion ($1 million if married filing separately). The exclusion doesn’t apply if the discharge is due to services performed for the lender or any other reason not directly related to a decline in the home’s value or the taxpayer’s financial condition.
The amount excluded reduces the taxpayer’s cost basis in the home. More details. Further information, including detailed examples, can also be found in Publication 4681, [see also a summary of this publication posted on this blog Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions, and Abandonments ]
The questions and answers, below, are based on the law prior to the passage of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007.
1. What is Cancellation of Debt?
If you borrow money from a commercial lender and the lender later cancels or forgives the debt, you may have to include the cancelled amount in income for tax purposes, depending on the circumstances. When you borrowed the money you were not required to include the loan proceeds in income because you had an obligation to repay the lender. When that obligation is subsequently forgiven, the amount you received as loan proceeds is reportable as income because you no longer have an obligation to repay the lender. The lender is usually required to report the amount of the canceled debt to you and the IRS on a Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt.
Here’s a very simplified example. You borrow $10,000 and default on the loan after paying back $2,000. If the lender is unable to collect the remaining debt from you, there is a cancellation of debt of $8,000, which generally is taxable income to you.
2. Is Cancellation of Debt income always taxable?
Not always. There are some exceptions. The most common situations when cancellation of debt income is not taxable involve:
Bankruptcy: Debts discharged through bankruptcy are not considered taxable income.
Insolvency: If you are insolvent when the debt is cancelled, some or all of the cancelled debt may not be taxable to you.You are insolvent when your total debts are more than the fair market value of your total assets.Insolvency can be fairly complex to determine and the assistance of a tax professional is recommended if you believe you qualify for this exception.
Certain farm debts:If you incurred the debt directly in operation of a farm, more than half your income from the prior three years was from farming, and the loan was owed to a person or agency regularly engaged in lending, your cancelled debt is generally not considered taxable income.The rules applicable to farmers are complex and the assistance of a tax professional is recommended if you believe you qualify for this exception.
Non-recourse loans:A non-recourse loan is a loan for which the lender’s only remedy in case of default is to repossess the property being financed or used as collateral.That is, the lender cannot pursue you personally in case of default.Forgiveness of a non-recourse loan resulting from a foreclosure does not result in cancellation of debt income.However, it may result in other tax consequences, as discussed in Question 3 below.

3. I lost my home through foreclosure. Are there tax consequences?

There are two possible consequences you must consider:
Taxable cancellation of debt income.(Note: As stated above, cancellation of debt income is not taxable in the case of non-recourse loans.)
A reportable gain from the disposition of the home (because foreclosures are treated like sales for tax purposes).(Note: Often some or all of the gain from the sale of a personal residence qualifies for exclusion from income.)
Use the following steps to compute the income to be reported from a foreclosure:
Step 1 – Figuring Cancellation of Debt Income (Note: For non-recourse loans, skip this section. You have no income from cancellation of debt.)
1. Enter the total amount of the debt immediately prior to the foreclosure.___________2. Enter the fair market value of the property from Form 1099-C, box 7. ___________3. Subtract line 2 from line 1.If less than zero, enter zero.___________
The amount on line 3 will generally equal the amount shown in box 2 of Form 1099-C. This amount is taxable unless you meet one of the exceptions in question 2. Enter it on line 21, Other Income, of your Form 1040.
Step 2 – Figuring Gain from Foreclosure4. Enter the fair market value of the property foreclosed.For non-recourse loans, enter the amount of the debt immediately prior to the foreclosure ________5. Enter your adjusted basis in the property.(Usually your purchase price plus the cost of any major improvements.) ____________6. Subtract line 5 from line 4. If less than zero, enter zero.
The amount on line 6 is your gain from the foreclosure of your home. If you have owned and used the home as your principal residence for periods totaling at least two years during the five year period ending on the date of the foreclosure, you may exclude up to $250,000 (up to $500,000 for married couples filing a joint return) from income. If you do not qualify for this exclusion, or your gain exceeds $250,000 ($500,000 for married couples filing a joint return), report the taxable amount on Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses.
4. I lost money on the foreclosure of my home. Can I claim a loss on my tax return?
No. Losses from the sale or foreclosure of personal property are not deductible.
5. Can you provide examples?
A borrower bought a home in August 2005 and lived in it until it was taken through foreclosure in September 2007. The original purchase price was $170,000, the home is worth $200,000 at foreclosure, and the mortgage debt canceled at foreclosure is $220,000. At the time of the foreclosure, the borrower is insolvent, with liabilities (mortgage, credit cards, car loans and other debts) totaling $250,000 and assets totaling $230,000.
The borrower figures income from the foreclosure as follows:
Use the following steps to compute the income to be reported from a foreclosure:
Step 1 – Figuring Cancellation of Debt Income (Note: For non-recourse loans, skip this section. You have no income from cancellation of debt.)
1. Enter the total amount of the debt immediately prior to the foreclosure.___$220,000__2. Enter the fair market value of the property from Form 1099-C, box 7. ___$200,000__3. Subtract line 2 from line 1.If less than zero, enter zero.___$20,000__
The amount on line 3 will generally equal the amount shown in box 2 of Form 1099-C. This amount is taxable unless you meet one of the exceptions in question 2. Enter it on line 21, Other Income, of your Form 1040.
Step 2 – Figuring Gain from Foreclosure
4. Enter the fair market value of the property foreclosed.For non-recourse loans, enter the amount of the debt immediately prior to the foreclosure. __$200,000__5. Enter your adjusted basis in the property.(Usually your purchase price plus the cost of any major improvements.) ___$170,000__6. Subtract line 5 from line 4.If less than zero, enter zero.___$30,000__
The amount on line 6 is your gain from the foreclosure of your home. If you have owned and used the home as your principal residence for periods totaling at least two years during the five year period ending on the date of the foreclosure, you may exclude up to $250,000 (up to $500,000 for married couples filing a joint return) from income. If you do not qualify for this exclusion, or your gain exceeds $250,000 ($500,000 for married couples filing a joint return), report the taxable amount on Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses.
In this situation, the borrower has a tax-free home-sale gain of $30,000 ($200,000 minus $170,000), because they owned and lived in their home as a principal residence for at least two years. Ordinarily, the borrower would also have taxable debt-forgiveness income of $20,000 ($220,000 minus $200,000). But since the borrower’s liabilities exceed assets by $20,000 ($250,000 minus $230,000) there is no tax on the canceled debt.
Other examples can be found in IRS Publication 544, Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets, under the section “Foreclosures and Repossessions”.

6. I don’t agree with the information on the Form 1099-C. What should I do?

Contact the lender. The lender should issue a corrected form if the information is determined to be incorrect. Retain all records related to the purchase of your home and all related debt.

7. I received a notice from the IRS on this. What should I do?

The IRS urges borrowers with questions to call the phone number shown on the notice. The IRS also urges borrowers who wind up owing additional tax and are unable to pay it in full to use the installment agreement form, normally included with the notice, to request a payment agreement with the agency.
8. Where else can I go to get tax help?
If you are having difficulty resolving a tax problem (such as one involving an IRS bill, letter or notice) through normal IRS channels, the Taxpayer Advocate Service may be able to help. For more information, you can also call the TAS toll-free case intake line at 1-877-777-4778, TTY/TDD 1-800-829-4059.
In some cases, you may qualify for free or low-cost assistance from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC). LITCs are independent organizations that represent low income taxpayers in tax disputes with the IRS. Find information on an LITCs in your area.

Related Items:
Publication 523, Selling Your Home
Publication 544, Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets
Publication 908, Bankruptcy Tax Guide
Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
Form 1040, Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses
Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt
Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request

Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions, and Abandonments

A summary of Publication 4681
By Stacie Clifford Kitts, CPA
Generally
Generally, if you have a debt (that is a debt that you are personally liable for) that is cancelled or forgiven, you must include the amount of cancelled debt as ordinary income on your income tax return. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Here is a list of some of the exceptions which would allow you to exclude the cancelled debt from income:
1) If the cancellation is intended to be a gift, then you are not required to report it as income. See Publication 525 for more information.
2) Certain student loans, if they contain a provision that the debt can be cancelled if certain qualifications are met.
3) If payments on the debt would have been considered tax deductions at the time the principal payments were made.
4) If the price of an item you have purchased on credit is reduced by the seller at a time when you are insolvent. However, you must reduce your basis in the property by the amount of the reduction.
There are also certain situation which allow you to exclude debt cancelation from income.
Bankruptcy
If you are bankrupt and you file for bankruptcy under title 11, the debt that is cancelled is not included in your income. But only if the cancellation of debt is under the jurisdiction of a court and the court approves the cancelation.
If your debt is cancelled, you should complete and attach Form 982 to your federal income tax return.

Insolvency

You are not required to include debt cancellation to the extent that you are insolvent immediately before the cancellation. You are insolvent if the total of your liabilities, exceeds the FMV of all of your assets.
To show that you are insolvent and to exclude cancelled debt, attach Form 982 to your income tax return.
The following worksheet can be used to calculate the extent that you were insolvent.
[Click on the picture to enlarge]
Certain qualified farm indebtedness can be excluded from income – See publication 4681
Qualified Real Property Business Indebtedness

If you have qualified real property business indebtedness that is cancelled, you can elect to exclude this from income. However, the debt must meet the following criteria:

1) It must be incurred or assumed in connection with real property used in a trade or business.

2) It must be secured by such real property.

3) It must be incurred or assumed at either of the following times:

a. Before 1993

b. After 1992, if the debt is either (i) qualified acquisition indebtedness (defined below), or (ii) debt incurred to refinance qualified real property business debt incurred or assumed before 1993 ( but only to the extend the amount of such debt does not exceed the amount of debt being refinanced.)

4) It must be debt to which you elect to apply these rules

Qualified principal Residence indebtedness

The qualified debt from your principal residence can be excluded from income if it is cancelled. The maximum amount that can be excluded is $2 million ($1 million if you are married filing separately).
Be sure to check out Publication 4681 for a definition of qualified principal residence indebtedness.
Attach a completed Form 982 to your federal income tax return to exclude the income.
Qualified Midwestern Disaster Area Indebtedness
If non business debt is cancelled by an applicable entity and you are a qualified individual you can exclude the cancelation from income. See publication 4681 for more details.

What’s new for 2008

The qualified principle residence indebtedness exclusion has been extended. The extension includes debts discharged after 2006 and before 2013.

The Heartland Disaster Tax Act Relief of 2008 which allows qualified individual to exclude from gross income discharges of certain indebtedness because of Midwestern Disasters.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allows certain businesses to make an elect to defer over a five year period the recognition of income from the cancellation of business debt arising from the reacquisition of certain types of business debt repurchased in 2009 or 2010. However, for the current or subsequent years, if you make the election to defer over the five year period, you cannot exclude the cancellation of debt related to a title 11 bankruptcy case, insolvency, qualified farm indebtedness or qualified real property business indebtedness. See Section 108(i) for more information.

Mortgage Debt Forgiveness

Published by the IRS
If your mortgage debt is partly or entirely forgiven during tax years 2007 – 2012, you may be able to claim special tax relief and exclude the debt forgiveness income.

Normally, debt forgiveness results in taxable income. However, under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to exclude up to $2 million of debt forgiven on your principal residence. The limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return.

Taxpayers may exclude debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in a foreclosure. To qualify, the debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence and be secured by that residence. Refinanced debt proceeds used for the purpose of substantially improving your principal residence also qualify for the exclusion.

However, proceeds of refinanced debt used for other purposes (for example, to pay off credit card debt) do not qualify for the exclusion.

If you qualify, you claim the special exclusion by filling out Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness, and attaching it to your federal income tax return for the year.

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 tax relief provisions, (for example, insolvency), may be available. See Form 982 for details.
If your debt is reduced or eliminated you will receive a year-end statement, Form 1099-C, from your lender. By law, this form must show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property foreclosed.

The IRS urges borrowers to examine the Form 1099-C carefully. Notify the lender immediately if any of the information shown is incorrect. You should pay particular attention to the amount of debt forgiven (Box 2) and the value listed for your home (Box 7).

For more information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, visit the IRS Web site at IRS.gov. A good resource is IRS Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments. Taxpayers may obtain a copy of this publication and Form 982 either by downloading from IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Links:
Form 982
Form 1099-C

Notice 2009-36 — Pursuant to the Home Affordable Mortgage Program, the U. S. Government may make certain payments to a real estate mortgage investment conduit (REMIC), one of the types of securitization vehicles that hold pooled mortgages. This notice states that if those payments are “contributions” subject to the 100 percent contribution tax set forth in the statutory rules governing REMICs, and if none of the exceptions set forth in those rules apply, then regulations will be issued that will provide an exception for such payments.
Revenue Procedure 2009-23 — On March 4, 2009, the United States Government released details about the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which will apply to mortgage loans held by real estate mortgage investment conduits (REMICs) and fixed investment trusts. This revenue procedure describes the conditions under which modifications to mortgage loans pursuant to the HAMP will not cause the IRS to challenge the tax status of REMICs or fixed investment trusts or to assert that those modifications to mortgages held by a REMIC give rise to a prohibited transaction.Notice 2009-36 and Revenue Procedure 2009-23 WILL BE IN IRB 2009-17, dated: April 27, 2009
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