Thinking About a Short Sale? Tax Relief Ends in 2012

Short SalesYou may think Short Sales were created in response to the housing market meltdown in 2007, but they have been around for years.

As Gina and I wrote in our book, The Field Guide to Short Sales, “They have not been widely used in the past for two reasons:

1. The lender could seek a deficiency judgment against the borrower for the amount of the loss. Laws vary from State to State, but the lender was able to garnish wages, engage a collection agency to collect the debt, or seek other legal relief.

2. The lender can elect to forgive all or a portion of the mortgage balance. However, until 2007, the amount forgiven became taxable income. The lender simply issued an IRS Form 1099 to the borrower. The tax implications were dramatic. If the lender forgave $100,000 and issued an IRS Form 1099 to the borrower for the same amount, the borrower potentially wound up owing the IRS tens of thousands of dollars depending on their tax rate.

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act was a major piece of legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush. The Act offered relief to homeowners, who, after a Short Sale, owed taxes on the forgiven mortgage debt. This relief is great news! Most homeowners no longer have to pay taxes on that forgiven debt. The Act applied to debts forgiven between 2007 and 2009, but was extended through 2012 by the Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.”

Unless Congress takes action to extend the Act, the relief from paying Federal taxes on forgiven debt will expire on December 31, 2012. This could end up costing a distressed homeowner tens of thousands of dollars in Federal taxes.

If you are considering a Short Sale, you may want to get started quickly. Given the time it takes to get the sale approved and the buyer to close, time is quickly running out.

Want to talk to a real estate team with a proved track-record and knows how to get them done? Contact us at 214-227-6626 or visit our website at

Photo licensed from iStockPhoto

About Tom Branch

Tom Branch has written 597 posts in this blog.

Have you ever just met someone, but felt you like you'd known him for years? That's what most people experience with Tom. He has a knack for making folks feel right at home. After 21 years in the Air Force, loyalty and honesty are the foundation of everything Tom does. In addition to being a Texas Real Estate Broker, Tom is a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) and a Short Sales & Foreclosure Resource (SFR).