Will They Extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act?
There are tens of thousands of distressed homeowners wondering the same things right now. Will congress continue to help out consumers who are behind on their mortgages by extending the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 for one more year?
The act was put in place in order to help homeowners with under water mortgages by forgiving the taxes owed on the the difference of the short sale payoff and the full amount of the loan. Under the current federal tax law, the amount forgiven by the lender gets reported as ordinary income for the homeowner.
The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 expired last Dec. 31 and has yet to be renewed for principal reductions during 2014. These principal reductions can apply to loan modifications that were done by lenders, foreclosures and short sales. Many believe that congress will extend the law however if the don’t, hundreds of thousands of distressed homeowners will be hit with tax burdens that they may not be able to handle.
I’ve had several dozen Orlando homeowners that would’ve opted to do a short sale on their home but have filed for bankruptcy instead rather than hoping for congress to renew the law. I believe that it’s for reason that we’ve seen significant drop in Orlando short sales so far in 2014. The fact is that I can’t recommend for homeowners to take a chance on a tax law that may or may not get renewed.
Let’s get back to the main question: Will the mortgage forgiveness act be extended?
The truth is that we just won’t know until it happens… or doesn’t a happen. And for underwater homeowners that have received or plan on receiving a reduction on their principal balance it’s going to be a stressful time until it all plays out.
Short Sale May Still Be The Best Option
Regardless of whether congress decides to extend the law or not, a short sale may still be the way to go for some distressed homeowners. If you compare a short sale to a foreclosure, you’re still better off doing a short sale and here’s the reason why. If a house goes to foreclosure, it will still sell for way below full payoff amount and you would still be facing possible tax burdens. The difference is that by doing a short sale you would avoid having a foreclosure on your record and you will also have a chance at getting relocation assistance from the lender.