Canceled debt is normally taxable to you, but there are exceptions. One of those exceptions is available to homeowners whose mortgage debt is partly or entirely forgiven during tax years 2007 through 2012.
We would like you to know these facts about Mortgage Debt Forgiveness:
- 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 income tax return.
- You 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.
- Proceeds of refinanced debt used for other purposes – for example, to pay off credit card debt – do not qualify for the exclusion.
- 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 help provisions – such as insolvency – may be applicable.
- 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.
- 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.
To talk to an accountant or about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, contact us at 407-502-2400.
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