AMT moves to make -- or not make --
by Dec. 31
'Twas a few days before Christmas ...

Tax relief for homeowners struggling
to pay PI and PMI

It's now the law. Debt discharged on some problematic mortgages is no longer taxable.

By now everybody knows about the double whammy that hits many struggling homeowners. Some folks lost their homes to foreclosure. Others thought they were getting a lucky break by getting their lender to renegotiate the loan and forgive some of the debt. In both cases, under Section 108 of the Internal Revenue Code, the homeowners (or former homeowners) received taxable income in the form of forgiven, or sometimes called canceled, debt.

Mortgage_debt_forgiveness_bill_sign The newly-enacted Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 changes that. It was signed into law yesterday by Dubya, smiling out at you from the picture to the right.

I'm sympathetic to folks who thought they found the American Dream and then realized they had bought into, using ill-advised subprime mortgages, a housing nightmare.

I'm a little less tolerant, though, of both homeowners and lenders who knew -- and don't kid yourself, they knew -- going into questionable mortgage arrangements that the residence was really just a house of cards waiting to tumble.

But, hey. It's Christmas time and the 2008 presidential election year officially begins in a few days. So why shouldn't politicians hand out gifts, tax and otherwise, all around.

Click here to read the White House's press release about Dubya's signing of H.R. 3648, The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007. The Way and Means Committee also issued a press release on the bill's passage, available here. And click here for the Administration's fact sheet on the new law.

PMI tax relief continued, too: While the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act definitely will help folks struggling to make their principal and interest (PI) payments on their homes, the law also affords some tax relief to those who are also making PMI payments.

PMI, or private mortgage insurance, is required by lenders when you can't come up with 20 percent to put down on your house.

The new debt forgiveness law included a provision that extends the deductibility of private mortgage insurance for home buyers through 2010. The break was initially set to expire at the end of this year.

To be eligible for the PMI deduction, you must meet an earnings limit. Homeowners with adjusted gross incomes below $100,000 can deduct 100 percent of their mortgage-insurance premium costs; the deductions phase out on income levels between $100,000 and $109,000.

And the write-off applies to mortgages obtained or refinanced from 2007 through 2010. If you have a prior loan with PMI, those payments remain nondeductible.

White House photo by Eric Draper


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Tom Henry

That's great financial information. I think nobody is better off after living in a home that thy cannot later afford to live in.


The whole world crisis erupted because of concessions on the mortgage. This vicious practice bomb is ticking under the whole economy.


I think no one should receive any so-called gifts from uncle Sam, especially when these gifts are being used as bait to buy votes from the general public. This the whole is irresponsible and counterproductive. Nobody is better off after living in a home that thy cannot later afford to live in.


finally this act reduces the tax burden on us.

deepak taxes relief

Tax relief help is the assistance offered by various service agencies and companies that engage in tax-related matters. These companies have specialized in personnel who are typically taxation experts and attorneys who assist taxpayers with receiving the full benefits that they are entitled to under the federal and state tax-relief programs. Even though the program introduced by the IRS in 1992 allows taxpayers who are in financial hardship to settle their tax liabilities for less than the full amount, the task of interacting with the IRS can be very emotionally draining. This is particularly so in the case of tax-relief programs since most of them are aimed at low-income persons and senior citizens.


Joe and Dimes, I see that my attempt at sarcasm didn't translate to print well. So I thank you both for being more direct in pointing out the unfairness of this tax bailout. I think politicians might be very surprised that this pandering won't pay off with an electorate that's trying to do the responsible thing.


As someone who doesn't make enough to afford a house, even at foreclosure prices, I have to ask, where is MY gift? What about people like my parents, who have faithfully paid their various mortgages for the past 30 years or so? Why do the reckless and the deadbeats get special presents when the rest of us don't? Shouldn't they feel some uncomfortable consequences of their actions? Even the Prodigal Son suffered. And what, praytell, is going to keep this from happening in the future?

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