Ordinarily, if all or part of a home loan is forgiven by the lender, either in a short sale or foreclosure, the amount forgiven is taxable income. Thus, for example, a homeowner who had $100,000 in mortgage debt forgiven through a short sale would have to pay income tax on the $100,000. However, Congress adopted the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 to save millions of underwater homeowners from this tax disaster. Under the Act, homeowners can exclude from their taxable income up to $2 million of debt forgiven on their principal residence during 2007 through 2012. The Act applies to debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as forgiven in connection with a foreclosure. But the Mortgage Debt Relief Act expires on January 1, 2013. Any mortgage debt forgiven after that date will be ...
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