IRS RULES AND FORECLOSURE LOSSES

REALTOR® Outlook

By Kay Wilson-Bolton

October 7, 2007

The Internal Revenue Service is at work on behalf of people who have lost their  homes due to foreclosure.

Homeowners are being reassured that, although mortgage workouts and foreclosures can have tax consequences if the Senate does not approve the House version of their tax relief bill, special relief provisions can often reduce or eliminate the tax bite for financially strapped borrowers who lose their homes.

The new section of IRS.gov includes a variety of information, including a worksheet designed to help borrowers determine whether any of the foreclosure-related relief provisions apply to them. For those taxpayers who find they owe additional tax, it also includes a form they can use to request a payment agreement with the IRS. . In some cases, eligible taxpayers may qualify to settle their tax debt for less than the full amount due using an offer-in-compromise.

The IRS urges struggling homeowners to consider their options carefully before giving up their homes through foreclosure.

Under the old tax law, if the debt wiped out through foreclosure exceeds the value of the property, the difference is normally taxable income.   A special rule allows insolvent borrowers to offset that income to the extent their liabilities exceed their assets.

The IRS cautions that under the law, relief may be limited or unavailable in some situations where, for example, part or all of a home was ever used for business or rented out.

Borrowers whose debt is reduced or eliminated receive a year-end statement (Form 1099-C) from their lender.   By law, this form must show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of property given up through foreclosure. Though the winning bid at a foreclosure auction is normally a property’s fair market value, it may not necessarily reflect its true value in some cases.

The IRS urges borrowers to check the Form 1099-C carefully. They should notify the lender immediately if any of the information shown on their form is incorrect. Borrowers should pay particular attention to the amount of debt forgiven (Box 2) and the value listed for their home (Box 7).

The IRS also reminds lenders of their obligation to provide accurate information on the Form 1099-C.   By law, the lender must send a copy of this form to the IRS. IRS follow-up contacts with taxpayers involved in foreclosure are based largely on the information reported on this form, and whether it conflicts with information provided by the taxpayer on their federal income tax return.

The IRS normally initiates these follow-up contacts by sending the borrower a notice.   The tax agency urges borrowers with questions to call the phone number shown on the notice.  The IRS also urges borrowers who wind up owing additional tax and are unable to pay it in full to use the installment agreement form, normally included with the notice, to request a payment agreement with the agency.

 

 

 

 

Kay Wilson-Bolton is the owner of CENTURY 21 Buena Vista and CENTURY 21 Ability. She brings a regional perspective to local issues. She can be reached at 805.340.5025. Her web address is www.readysetkay.com

 

About Kay Wilson-Boltonhttp://www.kaywilsonbolton.netWith a full-time career in real estate, I can add to your bank of knowledge, not only in real estate but in many areas of life that deal with people and relationships and choices. My real estate career has taught me many lessons about planning ahead and looking forward. I believe in helping along the way so that they can be the best they can be in any situation. I serve as a Fire Department Chaplain and Coordinator for the Many Meals Project which serves homeless and hungry families in my community. The event is far more than many meals. As a result of my work with the homeless population in my community, I received the Good Neighbor Award 2017 from the National Association of Realtors and named as a Champion of Homes in 2015 by the California Association of Realtors. I make pastoral visits to the inmates in the County Jail System and offer them what God says about "all things being new" and His remarkable plan for our lives. I have served my community as Mayor and in many volunteer capacities. I serve others by serving God first. My husband is involved in prison ministry and is a graphic artist. We live a simple life in Santa Paula with an office cat named Scout, three rescued poodles and a cat named Tony Diane at home.

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