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Major trade groups urge Congress to renew two major homeowner tax provisions

Set to expire end of 2016

This year two of the biggest tax provisions at the top of Congress’ pile to renew impact housing and homeowners, especially first-time homebuyers.

At this point, it’s standard practice for Congress to renew a handful of tax extensions at the end of the year, given that these provisions are constantly reaching their expiration date.

The Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Home Builders, and the National Association of Realtors wrote a joint letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Minority Leaders Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Leader Harry Reid, D Nev., to urge Congress to act on two critical tax provisions that are scheduled to expire at the end of 2016.

There are only 36 temporary provisions that are set to expire at the end of 2016, compared to the 52 that expired at the end of 2014, according to the Tax Foundation.

The foundation added that these 36 provisions are expected to reduce federal revenue by about $17.7 billion a year.

Here are the comments in the letter on each tax provision:

1. Mortgage debt provision:

The first provision ensures that any mortgage debt that is forgiven by a lender in connection with a principal residence will continue to be excluded from the taxable income of the borrower.

This prevents “underwater” homeowners from being taxed if their lender reduces the principal balance or a portion of their mortgage debt is forgiven in connection with a so-called “short sale.”


If Congress fails to act, struggling homeowners who accept short sales or a loan modification offer could be faced with a substantial tax assessment. The current provision, if extended, would aid many loss mitigation efforts and provide borrowers with the certainty that they will not be faced with a large, unexpected tax bill.

2. Mortgage insurance premiums

We believe that Congress should extend the tax deduction for mortgage insurance premiums paid by homeowners. For a $200,000 home, many homeowners are presently able to deduct between $600 and $1,000 from their taxes.


Retaining this deduction beyond 2016 will greatly benefit the large number of homeowners, particularly first time home buyers, who cannot afford a 20% or greater down payment and who use mortgage insurance in order to purchase a home.

The Tax Foundation stated that these two provisions, which are two of the biggest on the list, were projected to cost $7.5 billion in 2016. 

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