BIG WIN for REALTORS® : Advocacy in Action — Tax Extension Bill Passes

We’ve got exciting news for our members! Just before adjourning for 2014, the Senate passed mortgage debt cancellation relief as part of a larger “tax-extender” bill. This is a huge victory for REALTORS® across the country and in Colorado! Here’s what you need to know:

Colorado REALTORS® and DMAR members helped mortgage debt cancellation relief possible.

By responding to NAR’s Call for Action and contacting our senators to ask for an extension of the Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act, you contributed to the fight for this legislative victory. In fact, Colorado as a whole played a huge part. Over 15 % of Colorado REALTORS® responded.

The Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act passed widely and is largely expected to be signed into law. 

“NAR applauds Congressional leaders in both chambers for their effort to pass this legislation before adjournment,” said NAR President Chris Polychron. The House passed the extension in early December, and it went on to pass the Senate with a wide success margin (76-16 votes). Now the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act goes to President Obama, and the expectation is that he’ll sign it into law.

Though this legislation takes care of 2014, next year is still uncertain

The Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act helps hundreds of thousands of American families who needed to short-sell their home or received a loan reduction from their lender in the 2014 tax year. It prevents the mortgage forgiveness in a short sale being counted as taxable “phantom income.” But the extension only applies to short sales that occurred in 2014, and the possibility of future extensions will be decided by the newly elected Congress members that begin their 2015 session in January.

This “tax-extender” bill isn’t only mortgage forgiveness. 

It includes “one-year extensions of the 15-year depreciation schedule for leasehold improvements and the deduction for improvements to energy-efficient buildings,” CAR reports. The entire package serves to benefit not only homeowners and the housing market, but also commercial real estate.

There was also a provision to extend terrorism risk insurance, but the Senate failed to renew it before they adjourned. This could delay commercial real estate, because this insurance is critical. The issue of terrorism risk insurance is now forced to wait  until the 2015 session with the new Congress.

For more information about the tax-extender bill and legislation, you can read NAR’s report here, or CAR’s reporthere.