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Realtor president warns not to mess with real estate tax benefit

Confusion over tax law is hurting the housing market, letter states

In a letter to senators who are leading President Bush's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, the president of the National Association of Realtors trade group told them not to tinker with home-ownership tax benefits. "Never dismiss or underestimate Americans' passion for home ownership," said Al Mansell, president of the Realtors group. "The housing market, while large, is a fragile, delicate instrument. We believe that penalizing current homeowners by reconfiguring the mortgage interest rules is a completely inappropriate mechanism for curtailing abusive lending practices or defeating local land use decisions." "The tax system supports home ownership by making it more affordable. While it is true that only about one-third of taxpayers itemize deductions, it is also true that, over time, more than one-third of taxpayers receive the benefit. Over time, mortgages get paid off, other new homeowners enter the market and family tax circumstances change. Arguably, the standard deduction g...

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