Yesterday, President Bush signed H.R. 3648, The Mortgage Forgiveness Act of 2007, into law, sparing homeowners the tax burden associated with canceled mortgage debt.
Prior to this action, forgiven mortgage debt due to foreclosure, short sale, or deed in lieu of foreclosure, was considered taxable income. The new law, however, temporarily waives these taxes for debts forgiven (as high as 35%) from the beginning of 2007 to the end of 2009. The bill also extends the tax deduction for mortgage insurance premiums through 2014.
"This is going to make a happy holiday for many homeowners," President Bush said yesterday before signing the bill in to law. During the press conference he added the following:
"When you're worried about making your payments, higher taxes are the last thing you need to worry about. So this bill will create a three-year window for homeowners to refinance their mortgage and pay no taxes on any debt forgiveness that they receive. And it's a really good piece of legislation. The provision will increase the incentive for borrowers and lenders to work together to refinance loans ? and it will allow American families to secure lower mortgage payments without facing higher taxes."
"There's more work to be done," Bush added, saying that Congress needs to pass legislation to strengthen Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, to modernize FHA, and to allow the government to issue tax-exempt bonds for refinancing existing home loans.
After all, 'tis the season......