Debt forgiveness tax – Can they be avoided by the investors?


June 19, 2012

Debt forgiveness is the procedure of writing off the entire or a part of a person’s outstanding debt. This may occur in order to lessen the quantity of loss incurred by a lender as a result of defaults. The procedure has also been used to strengthen the economy of a country by other nations deciding to write off debt related to resources borrowed in the past.


Once you eliminate debt in whole or in part, it’ll give you a fresh start, enabling you to avoid an unbearable financial burden. When a borrower fails to pay off the entire amount owed to their lender, the lender might lower the debt amount so as to receive a smaller amount of the debt, or to help the borrower to keep on making smaller payments.


This is known as cancellation of debt or debt forgiveness. However, debt cancellation isn’t always an easy job. Under various circumstances, the IRS or Internal Revenue Service may deem the canceled part of the debt as taxable income.


As home proprietors throughout the nation have striven to either hold on to their properties or reduce the damage in losing them, they have looked forward to a number of government programs for aid. These programs like HAMP, Hope for Homeowners, and presently HAFA have pledged a great deal but delivered very modest results till date.


One effective relief program which has allowed homeowners to steer clear of taxes on the forgiven debt on their primary residence is the Federal Debt Forgiveness Relief Act and comparable State laws. No program as such has been framed to protect investors but respite from these taxes may be obtainable anyway. Debt forgiveness tax is calculated by the creditor issuing an IRS 1099 for various incomes showing the owed amount and the amount paid. You need to pay taxes on the difference in income except in case of some exceptions.


Capital loss offset – Once you purchase a property, your acquisition price normally establishes the amount you invested. This is enhanced by capital expansions you make, like a new roof, and it’s lowered by your depreciation write off. For a lot of investors, the taxable basis could be much higher than the existing market value and perhaps even higher than the amount payable on the property.


For instance, if you procured for $500,000 with a $400,000 loan and the property trades or are foreclosed at a cost of $250,000; then you’ll have a debt forgiveness of $150,000 but would also incur a capital loss of $250,000. Accountants are normally of the view that you can make up for the debt forgiveness tax with the capital loss.


Bankruptcy – Even though this is a last resort for investors and owners equally, if you lose a property during the process of Bankruptcy there’ll be no debt forgiveness tax applied. You’re prohibited from using bankruptcy for avoiding taxes already accrued prior to filing a bankruptcy case.


Ahead of taking any decision regarding your home or investment property, make sure that you consult qualified legal professionals in your locality who’ll understand your particular situation, and guide you on how these rules apply to you and your circumstances.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn