Monday, March 14, 2011

Passing the test on canceled mortgage debt has tax rewards

With hundreds of thousands of homeowners having negotiated loan modifications or short sales or been foreclosed upon during the past year, the Internal Revenue Service has issued fresh guidance on how to handle canceled mortgage debt in the upcoming tax season.
It's a huge issue, widely misunderstood by consumers and involves potentially billions of dollars of tax liability.
Usually, when a creditor cancels debts, such as unpaid balances on student loans or credit cards, the forgiven amounts are treated as ordinary, taxable income by the Internal Revenue Code. But under a special exemption adopted by Congress covering distressed home mortgages, many owners can escape the ultimate double whammy: getting hit with extra taxes because your mortgage went seriously delinquent or you lost your house
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