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Loan Refinancing: Debt-freedom or Debt-slavery?

Many loan agents promote home loan refinancing as the path to debt freedom. Refinancing can be either a way to reduce your debt, a way to reduce the amount of your monthly payments or a cheap source of finance. However, depending on your home loan terms and the new loan conditions, refinancing can contribute to reducing or augmenting your debt.

You need to be extremely careful when considering refinancing since it is a very complex financial operation and there are many variables involved that if not considered carefully, they can affect the results turning the financial transaction into an extremely onerous decision that may increase your debt against your will.

Daily Finance Eased

Refinancing your home loan can alleviate your daily finances. By refinancing your home mortgage with a longer repayment program and / or a lower interest rate, you can lower your monthly payments and thus, the amount of money you destine towards debt payments will be considerably reduced.

However, this does not always come at no-cost. If you get a lower rate and a longer repayment program, you may be saving money but you will have to be indebted for a longer period of time. If you get a higher rate and a longer repayment program, you may get lower or higher monthly payments depending on the intensity of the increments and you may also get some ease for your finances but you will also be attached to the loan for a longer period of time. Only an equal loan term and a lower interest rate can save you thousands and not oblige you to a loan for longer periods.

Long Term Commitment To Mortgage Payments

The opposite of the above is also true. If you want to hasten the date where you will finally be debt free, you will have to compromise your income to debt ratio. Shortening repayment programs will raise your monthly payments as a higher rate would do. This can be compensated by a reduction on the interest rate but this cannot always be achieved.

By refinancing for shorter repayment programs you will be affecting your income since you will have to destine higher amounts towards debt payments. So, when it comes to refinancing, you will need to ponder all and reach equilibrium between all these variables so you do not extend your debt-slavery too long and you do not affect your income to debt ratio either.

The Right Path Towards Debt-Freedom

What you need to do is reduce your overall debt and since home loans are the cheapest sources of finance, it is wise to extend the repayment programs (even if the rate goes up) because by lowering the installments you will be able to use the surplus to repay other debt. Of course, this requires discipline on your behalf since a chaotic credit behavior will worsen your situation.

If you can get approved for a cash-out refinance home loan, you will be able to use the extra money to cancel outstanding and more expensive debt which will contribute to achieving debt freedom sooner. Remember, exchanging your expensive debt for cheaper financial sources is the smartest and most intelligent thing to do.

Melissa Kellett is an expert loan consultant who has worked for twenty years in the financial industry and helps people to repair their credit and get approved for home loans, unsecured personal loans, student loans, consolidation loans, car loans and many other types of loans and financial products. If you want to learn more about <a href="http://www.speedybadcreditloans.com/bad-credit-personal-loans.html” rel=”nofollow”>Quick Loans For Bad Credit and <a href="http://www.speedybadcreditloans.com/unsecured-loans.html” rel=”nofollow”>Unsecured Personal Loans you can visit her site http://www.speedybadcreditloans.com/
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How to Help yourself Reduce Your Debt

Debt reduction help begins at home. Depending on your specific situation, it is possible to tackle your debt on your own without the need of debt help services. Here are the steps to handling your debt on your own.

Step 1. Sort Your Spending

Before you can start to attack your debt, you need to first look at your spending habits. You want to separate those payments you need to make (like mortgage, car, and insurance payments) and see what other expenses you have throughout the month. You’ll find that a lot of those “other” expenses are frivolous, such as going to the movies, dining out, and purchasing unnecessary luxury items (e.g. expensive shoes, watches, televisions, etc.). If you want to pay off your debt, you’re going to have to make a few sacrifices (e.g. stop eating out, reduce your cable TV to just the basic package, etc.). Once you have an idea of how you’re spending your money each month, you then need to see what you’re buying using your credit cards.

Step 2. Tackle the Credit Card

Credit cards are what get a lot of people in trouble. They simply charge items without regard to how they expect to pay for the charges later. This is very dangerous and if it’s not stopped, it can result in an uncontrollable amount of debt. So, after you sort your spending, the next step is to see what expenses you’re charging on your credit card. If at all possible, you should never charge your “must pay” expenses. If you charge your electrical bill, you’re merely transferring your debt from one company to another, and not paying it down. Pay your mortgage, car payments, and other necessities via your paycheck. If you are charging them and you do have the cash to pay for them each month, STOP CHARGING! Pay for them outright. The reason you’re in debt is probably because your credit card charges are getting out of hand. By not charging your “must pay” items, you can ensure that your monthly “must pay” debt is truly getting paid down and not just getting transferred to your credit card company.

NOTE: If there is no way you can pay for your “must pay” items without charging them, you have too much debt. Your income is less than your total debt. This is commonly known as your debt to income ratio. You want your income to be higher than your debt, and the way to do this is to either increase your income or decrease your debt (e.g. sell that extra car/boat/RV or cancel the movie channel package on your cable TV plan).

Step3. Cut Back Where you Can

After you’ve established your spending habits and what you charge on your credit card, it’s time to start cutting back. Take a look at your last credit card statement. What items are on there? Are there any charges that were not “necessary charges”? The occasional medical or car repair expense can’t be avoided so don’t worry about those. What you want to look for are expenses like clothing, restaurants, movies, and non-essential big-purchase items like televisions and sporting event tickets. These are the items you need to cut back on. Remember, if you want to get out of debt, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices. That means no more going out to eat or to the movies. No new clothes for a while. You need to cut back as much as you can so that you can put as much of your funds towards paying off your debt. If you don’t cut back, you’ll just be adding to it.

For further debt reduction help, visit http://www.bills.com/debt_reduction_help/

Justin narin has 5 years experience as a financial adviser; his key areas are loan consolidation, debt relief, mortgages etc. For more free articles and advice visit http://www.Bills.com
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Easy Steps to Rebuild your Credit With Debt Consolidation

You want to eliminate debt and you are considering a debt consolidation personal loan. You should know that getting this type of loans is not easily achieved. Your credit rank and credit history may compromise your ability to get a loan. In fact a small number of people do qualify for this kind of loans. There are however ways to eliminate debt with fewer requirements.

Unless you suddenly come across a legacy, there are not many chances that you will be receiving a large amount of money out of nowhere. You could of course ask for a home loan or refinance the mortgage on your home if you have already done so but there are many fees involved in this kind of transactions and you may not end up with the kind of money you were hoping for. Home Equity Loans

A smarter option would be to seek a Home Equity Lender. Home equity loans are easier to qualify for, the interest rates are also low and the lending process is faster too. An increase on the value of your home or simply the continued payments of your mortgage might have build equity on your home. You can turn this into fresh money by applying for this kind of loans. Moreover equity loans have very low fees or are even fee-free, which makes this definitely a better option compared to refinancing your mortgage.

The difference between the overall value of the property and the remaining of your mortgage debt is called equity. The amount of money you can borrow when you request a home equity loan depends on the equity on your home. And you will be able to get as much money as you need up to this limit. Pay Off And Avoid New Debt

In order to reduce your debts you can use the cash you get from a home equity loan to cancel your credit cards debt, pay bills, pay store cards, etc. Paying is the best way to rebuild your credit and remember to avoid getting into more debt and increasing your spending once you get the relief from this new sum.

Moreover, the monthly payments of the loan you request to consolidate your debt will contribute to raising your credit score as they will be recorded into your credit report. If you avoid missing payments or paying late, there soon be no stains in your credit history and you will recover your ability to get finance with lower interest rates, larger amounts and longer repayment programs. Budgeting

You should always follow a budget and make sure your income-spending ratio stays on track. Otherwise you will find yourself worst than at the beginning of this process and you may be seriously risking bankruptcy, ruining your credit for many years.

Melissa Kellett is an expert loan consultant who has worked for twenty years in the financial industry and helps people to repair their credit and get approved for home loans, unsecured personal loans, student loans, consolidation loans, car loans and many other types of loans and financial products. If you want to learn more about <a href="http://www.speedybadcreditloans.com/unsecured-debt-consolidation-loan.html” rel=”nofollow”><a href="http://www.speedybadcreditloans.com/free-online-debt-consolidation.html” rel=”nofollow”>Debt Consolidation Loans and <a href="http://www.speedybadcreditloans.com/free-online-debt-consolidation.html” rel=”nofollow”>Debt Consolidation you can visit her site http://www.speedybadcreditloans.com/
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Not All Debt is Bad

So you are in debt-who isn’t these days? We live in a society that encourages people to go into debt. Credit card commercials tell us that a trip to Jamaica is just what we need, regardless of whether we can afford it. (That’s what your gold card is for, right?)

Loan brokers want us to borrow up to 125 percent against our home equity. Even the federal government just had its first balanced budget in a generation and now faces the enormous task of paying off over trillions of dollars in debt.

Yet not everyone is in debt. Many people know how to deal with money. Their debts are manageable, and they have money in the bank. That sounds nice, doesn’t it money in the bank? That is what you deserve. In order to get there, however, you are going to have to change some of your thinking about money and learn a few new methods of dealing with it.

Why Are You in Debt?People who are not in debt think about and treat money differently than the rest of us. They know a few things about money and debt that escape the rest of us. Let’s call them the “financially literate.” If you can begin to relate to money as they do, you will be well on your way to a life that is not only debt-free, but also prosperous. What we hope to do in this book is to show you some of their secrets so you can adapt a few of these ideas and tools to help you get out of debt.

Do not feel too badly if you are not good with a dollar, a lot of people aren’t. Money literacy is not taught in schools, and too often parents are too busy trying to dig themselves out of their own financial hole to help much either. Yet, unfortunately for many of us, we learn more about money from our parents than anywhere else. The good news is that learning how to get out of debt and become more financially literate is not all that complicated.

The first step in the process is to figure out how you created so much debt, because if you don’t figure out how and why you got yourself into this pickle, you might get out of debt, but you certainly won’t stay out. So the first question to ask yourself is: Why did you go into debt in the first place?

Sometimes going into debt is unavoidable, but often it is not. When money is tight, you have several options; going into debt is just the easiest. Instead of choosing more debt, you might have decided to work overtime and make more money, or possibly you could have tightened your belt and spent less money. Debt was not your only choice.

There are many reasons people go into debt: some are good reasons, and some are bad. It doesn’t matter. Did you buy luxuries you could otherwise not afford? Did an illness or a divorce set you back financially? Was debt your way of dealing with some other sudden, unexpected expense? When you look at the reason why you went into debt, the important thing is to notice whether your spending habits follow a pattern. If you can see a pattern, you need to address that pattern as much as the underlying debt.

Consider Mark and Diane. They both make a good living: he’s a psychiatrist, and she’s a psychologist. They have two kids to whom they are devoted. They send both to private school, which costs a total of $15,000 a year, and both kids go to summer camp. This expense adds up.

Mark and Diane don’t buy luxuries, they don’t travel much, and, except for the kids’ expenses, they are very frugal. Yet the only way they can pay for everything is by going into debt. They use their home equity line of credit and credit cards to stay afloat. Although they would like to move to a less expensive neighborhood, they can’t because they have no equity in their home, so they are stuck.

What are they to do? If they are going to get out of debt, something in their lives is going to have to change. The private school is going to have to go, camp may be out, or they are going to have to start making more money. The same is true for you. If you want to get out of debt, you are going to have to identify why you went into debt and change that behavior or pattern.

Good and Bad DebtDebt in and of itself is not a bad thing. Both of us (the authors) were able to start our own businesses because of debt; Steve began his own law practice, and Azriela began her own entrepreneurial consulting business. So we understand what debt is and why some debt is great debt.

Debt allows you to do things you otherwise normally could not do, such as start a business, go to college, or pay for a home. Debt constructs buildings and funds investments and entire corporations-even the government is funded by debt. The trick is to foster debts that help the cause and banish the ones that don’t. Not all debts are bad debts.

Good DebtDebt that helps you, enriches your life, is manageable, and is not a burden can be called good debt. For example, student loans are good debt if they enabled you to get through school and further your life goals. They are bad debt if you dropped out of medical school after one year to become a writer. A good debt helps; a bad debt hinders. We want to help you get rid of that bad debt.

Other examples of debt that may be considered good include:1. Home loans. A mortgage can be a great debt. Not only does it permit you to own your own home, but it also allows you to build home equity. People who are financially savvy earn interest and equity. People who are not financially savvy pay interest and create money for others. For example, charging groceries means that you will pay about 17 percent interest on items that will be consumed within a week. A financially literate person would never do that.

2. Car loans. A car loan can be a fine debt because you get something long-lasting out of the debt. If you need a nice car for your job (if you are a real estate agent, for example), a car loan may be considered good debt because it helps you in your career. However, a car loan that you cannot afford is a bad debt because it detracts from your life.

3. Business loans. If you can service the loan, and it helps you make more money, the loan is good debt, but if the loan is nothing but a source of problems for you, the debt is bad.

4. Credit cards. Credit cards are fantastic. They are convenient and easy. They can help finance a business or even medical emergencies. The problem with them, as you probably know only too well, is that it is too easy to fall under their siren spell and get in over your head before you know it. That’s when they begin to hurt your life more than help it.

Bad Debt BluesHow do you know if your debt is good debt or bad debt? Easy. Bad debts cause stress. You sleep poorly because of them. They cause fights and foster guilt. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell was once asked to define obscenity. Hard-pressed to come up with a definition, Powell uttered the famous line, “I know it when I see it.” The same could be said for bad debt: You know it when you see it, and it certainly can be obscene.

Bad debt seems impossible to pay back. You create bad debt when you charge things you don’t need or when you borrow for things that you consume quickly, such as clothes, meals, or vacations. The things quickly disappear, but the debt has a nasty habit of sticking around, seemingly forever. Bad debts can become very bad debts because of interest and penalties. For example, if you buy a CD player for $200 and don’t pay it off by the end of the year, and your credit card company charges a usurious 20 percent APR (20 percent per year), you owe $220 by the end of the year. If you do this with five items, you owe $1100, and that’s a lot of money.

Money TalksTight for money? Here are some simple ways to save a little extra: Don’t use ATMs at other banks and avoid $2 user fees; cancel your movie channels on cable and save about $20 per month; put all of your change at the end of the day in a jar and save about $50 a month; hold a garage sale and make about $200; cancel your cell phone and save $50 a month.

You can create bad debt when you agree to pay these crazy interest rates that some creditors charge, because the debt seems to grow exponentially. Credit cards are the prime culprit, but they are by no means the only one. High interest can also come with personal loans, business loans, or unpaid taxes.

You know what the bad debt dance looks like, anyone reading this book does: New bills are coming in before you’ve cleared out those from last month. You’re surprised to find that the phone bill is still unpaid. Somehow the dentist was never sent his check. You know what past-due notices look like. Your Visa and MasterCard bills include late payment penalties. The hardware store sends a letter telling you you’re past due and requests that you send a check at once. There is more month left at the end of your money, and payday seems far away. Worst of all, these things don’t surprise you anymore.

Avoidance is a common coping mechanism to deal with a budget that doesn’t balance. The problem is, it can create even more problems than you already have:

Your property could be repossessed. The finance company can come take your car. The electronics store can come take its TV back. You could get sued. If that happens, your wages could be garnished, or your bank account could be levied upon. Imagine your surprise when you go to get that $1,000 out of your checking account to pay your mortgage and you find that it has been seized by one of your creditors.

A lien can be placed on your real estate. Failure to pay a bill now means that a creditor can get a judgment against you and force you to pay it later when you sell your house, only then you will pay it with 10 percent interest per year.

Loss of services. You could lose your insurance or your utility services if you avoid paying those bills.

Yet, as much as you have been avoiding the problem, the truth is that your debts are neither crushing nor hopeless. They are simply a problem-one for which there is a solution. But no one ever eliminated a problem until he or she recognized and admitted that there was a problem. You began to do that the moment you read this articles. As you read it, you will need to begin to formulate a debt-reduction plan that will work for you. As you do, you need to determine which debts are necessary and which are not.

Debts You Want to KeepSteve, one of the authors of this book, is a bankruptcy attorney. One day, an old acquaintance named Bill came into his office and said that he needed some help getting out of debt, but he also wanted to avoid bankruptcy if at all possible. They talked, came up with a plan of action, and Bill went on his way. About four years later, Steve ran into Bill again and asked how things were; Bill relayed the following story.

Bill had $30,000 in credit card debt and was behind two months on his mortgage when he left Steve’s office. That day, Bill finally decided that something had to change. He wanted to pay everyone back, put some money in savings, and keep his house. His mortgage was his largest, and favorite, debt because he loved his house.

Bill’s first order of business was to prioritize his debts. Wanting to save his house, Bill called his lender and found out that it had a program that would enable him to roll his mortgage arrears onto the end of his loan. He was therefore able to keep his most important debt and focus his energies on getting rid of the debts he didn’t want anymore.

Bill put together a credit card repayment plan. He started living a bit more frugally, making some extra money by moonlighting, and paying more on his credit cards than the minimum. He was diligent, but not always perfect. Although it took him several years, he finally did get out of debt. He also kept his house and even created a little nest egg. Bill did it, and you can too.

Debts to Get Rid OfIf you want to prosper financially, there are plenty of debts that you will want to wipe out. The most obvious are those where you are paying high interest and penalties, things such as credit cards, lines of credit, taxes, or any other debt that is much higher than inflation. In this articles, you will see how to formulate a plan that will enable you to get out from under these burdensome debts. But as you contemplate this plan, you also need to prioritize certain debts and pay them on time:1. Rent or mortgage. Make paying your rent or mortgage a top priority. Payments on a home equity line of credit or second mortgage are also essential because you can lose your house if you don’t pay.2. Car payments. Make the payments. If you don’t, the car will be repossessed.3. Utility bills. These services are important, and the bills usually have heavy late payment penalties.4. Child support or alimony. Not paying these debts can land you in jail.5. Taxes. Taxes may be put off for awhile if necessary, and we show you how to do so later on in the book, but if the IRS is about to take your paycheck, bank account, house, or other property, you should set up a repayment plan immediately.

The First Rule of Holes: Stop Digging!The goal of this articles is to help you get out of debt within the context of making your life work. You will not be asked to make radical, unreasonable changes in your life because doing so rarely works. Instead, important, sometimes gradual, small but significant changes can make a big difference.

If you are going to start getting out of debt, you have to stop going into debt. One way to start is to begin to wean yourself from the credit card teat if you think that is part of your problem. You don’t have to cut up all your credit cards; that would be impractical and unreasonable. Start slowly, but build up to it and get strong. You can do it. The only way to stop going into debt is to stop going into debt. You might as well start now because the sooner you start, the sooner you will get out of debt. The longer you wait, the longer it will take.

We will show you how to easily trim your budget (well, almost easily) so that you need not incur more debt to stay afloat. But begin now. You are going to have to stop sooner or later. Down the road you will see that this is one of the most important steps you can take in getting out of debt. You will thank yourself for this gift. Remember the first rule of holes: Stop digging!

Long-Term GoalsNow is the time to begin to think about your long range financial vision. What is it you hope to accomplish by getting out of debt? Changing some habits?

Paying off your MasterCard? Probably what you really want is a less stressful life, one that’s free from money worries. But you can have even more. Getting out of debt is one thing, but prosperity is another thing altogether.

You have read this once already, and you will read it again in this book: If you don’t begin to do some things differently, to change the way you think and treat money, you might get out of debt, but you won’t stay out of debt. If you do make some simple changes to your thinking and your behavior, not only will you get out of debt, but you also will get ahead. You will get what you deserve: a life of abundance.

The Least You Need to Know1. Going into debt for essentials makes financial sense; doing so for nonessentials does not.2. Not all debt is bad debt.3. You may want to keep debts that enhance your life and get rid of the rest.4. Stop adding to your debt right now.5. Cultivate a long-term plan of action.

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www.Citicredit.asia offers comprehensive guide to credit reporting, including information on repairing or rebuilding your credit history.
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The American Foreclosure Crisis and Forgiven Debt—relief at Last!

 

I’ve had a lot of clients worried about the foreclosure crisis lately. Clients who lost their homes are terrified of the tax repercussions of their once-expensive home selling for a pittance; then the mortgage lender turning around and issuing them a IRS Form 1099 for the forgiven debt. Imagine the horror– You’ve already lost your home to foreclosure— and now you have to pay thousands of dollars in taxes on the forgiven debt, too! The worst possible scenario!

 

Do not despair– all is not lost. Congress signed the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act in 2007 to help the millions of homeowners who are dealing with this crisis. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act allows homeowners to exclude the forgiven debt from their foreclosed home, and saves already distressed homeowners from the additional blow of forgiven debt on their tax return.

 

Usually, debt that is forgiven or cancelled by a lender must be included as income on your tax return and is taxable. The lender essentially has to “eat the cost” of the difference between what the homeowner owes on the property and what the bank eventually sells the distressed property for.

 

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 allows you to exclude certain cancelled debt on your principal residence from income. The Act applies to cancelled debt used to buy, build or improve your principal residence. The Act applies to homeowners whose loan was less than $2 million. The Act does not apply to second homes, rental property, or other investment property. The Act applies to debt forgiven in 2007, 2008 or 2009.

 

The cancelled debt listed on your Form 1099 still must be reported on your tax return, even though it will not be taxable. The amount of debt forgiven must be reported on Form 982 (Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness). This Form 982 must be filled out and attached to your tax return.

 

Form 982 is used for other purposes in addition to reporting the exclusion of forgiveness of qualified principal residence indebtedness. If you are using the form only to report the forgiven debt on a  principal residence, you only need to complete lines 1e and 2. If you kept ownership of your home and modification of the terms of your mortgage resulted in the forgiveness of qualified principal residence indebtedness, complete lines 1e, 2, and 10b.

 

Your lender should send a Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, by January 31, 2008. The amount of debt forgiven or cancelled will be shown in box 2. If this debt is all qualified principal residence indebtedness, the amount shown in box 2 will generally be the amount that you enter on lines 2 and 10b, if applicable, on Form 982. 

 

And more good news– even if part of the forgiven debt doesn’t qualify for exclusion from income under this provision, is it possible that your forgiven debt will qualify under the IRS’ “insolvency” exclusion. If you believe you qualify for debt exclusion under the IRS’ “insolvency” exclusion, it is recommended that you see a tax professional to help you.

 

I hope this article has eased your fears about this crisis that so many Americans are facing this year. As long as you keep good records and fill out the proper forms for the IRS, you can breathe easy and know that your will not suffer an additional hardship from cancelled debt on your primary residence.

 

Christy Pinheiro, EA is an Enrolled Agent and holds a Bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University. She has over 15 years of business and accounting experience. She was a staff accountant for a private CPA firm and also for the State of California before going into private practice. Her finance and tax articles have been published in numerous periodicals. She is the author of Pineapple Guides’ EA Exam Review book series.
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Is Mortgage Debt That Is Discharged Taxable As Ordinary Income

This topic is a real bugaboo that seems to be attracting quite a bit of attention these days, what with foreclosures, short sales, bankruptcies and walk-aways in full bloom in the garden known as the mortgage meltdown. Unfortunately, there seems to be more misinformation and urban myth floating around than good professional advice. If you have any reservations at all about your status, don’t make any assumptions about this subject without consulting a lawyer or accountant.
The short answer is that Congress did pass the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, which does provide a lot of relief, and will probably benefit most of the folks that are most in need of the relief it provides. But if you have investment property or a HELOC, keep reading.
First of all, the general rule is that forgiven debt gives rise to “ordinary income” which is a taxable event ordinarily reported on IRS Form 1099. Historically, there has been an exception that if the taxpayer is insolvent (which means only that their debts exceed their assets) then the forgiven debt is not taxable to the extent of the insolvency. This means simply that if I owe $100 but my assets are only $80, then I am “insolvent” to the measurable tune of $20, and the amount of the forgiven debt that is not taxable would be limited to that $20. The filing of a bankruptcy petition gives rise to a “presumption of insolvency” which usually is the end of the issue and the taxpayer won’t be taxed on the forgiven debt. Absent a bankruptcy petition, you would normally have to prove the insolvency to the IRS in order to avoid the tax.
Last year Congress passed H.R. 3648, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007. This statute, which is a change to the Federal tax code, creates a specific carve out to the general rule without requiring the taxpayer to prove insolvency or go through the bothersome chore of filing bankruptcy. But it is not the free ride that some news sources and pundit-sorts have made it out to be.
First, the real property securing the forgiven debt must be the taxpayer’s principal residence, which means that the taxpayer had to have resided in it as a principal residence for the prior two years. A taxpayer can only have one principal residence. Second homes, vacation homes, investment property and raw land do not qualify. While this won’t disqualify the mass of folks currently awash in the foreclosure paper chase from sea to shining sea, it means that this is not a safe harbor for investors.
Second, the amount is limited to $2 million. Not a huge obstacle in most parts of the country, but with real estate prices in the Bay Area being what they are, this limit could still hit some poor soon-to-be-homeless gazillionaire where it hurts.
Third, the window is only open for three years. The debt must be discharged between January 1, 2007 and January 1, 2010, unless extended before then. So if you’re going to lose your home, you better hurry!
Fourth, the debt canceled must be a loan that was used to “acquire, construct or substantially improve” the property. Sounds innocent enough, but this will exclude many home equity loans and probably all home equity lines of credit. Given that a lot of the loans that are causing the most pain right now are second deeds of trust that might not have been purchase money loans, this limitation could catch a lot of folks looking in the wrong direction. If the loan that is about to adjust up and double the monthly payment on that second you took out to pay down some college tuition or credit card debt, this law won’t help you.
While the IRS hasn’t yet published one of its riveting standard publications yet–the law only went into effect January 1, 2008–you can still get their current spin on the law’s provisions here. This is the bookmark publication until something more formal is issued.

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