For tax purposes, housing debt that is forgiven or written off is treated the same as income. The difference between the short sale price, or price at a trustee’s sale, and the loan balance may be forgiven debt. It can be considered income, which is reported by the lender on form 1099-C. The Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act, which applies if the debt was forgiven in years 2007 through 2012. This requires that the debt was incurred to buy or substantially improve the taxpayer’s principal residence. This includes a refinance loan, to the extent that the principal balance of the old mortgage would have qualified. Taxpayers concerned with whether their forgiven debt qualifies should consult with an experienced Sacramento and El Dorado real estate attorney.
The Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act requires that the debt was incurred to buy or substantially improve the taxpayer’s principal residence. This includes a refinance loan, to the extent that the principal balance of the old mortgage would have qualified. Up to $2 million of forgiven debt is eligible for this exclusion ($1 million if married filing separately). The amount of debt forgiven must be reported on your tax return. The act first extended such relief for three years, applying to debts discharged in calendar year 2007 through 2009; with the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, this tax relief was extended another three years, covering debts discharged through calendar year 2012.
The forgiven debt may also be excluded from your income if:
A. The debt was discharged in bankruptcy;
B. The taxpayer is insolvent (their debts exceeded their assets the day before and the day after the short sale or foreclosure; requires a special filing with the IRS);
C. The mortgage debt was non-recourse; or
D. Certain farm debts.