Tax reform could include revamp of mortgage interest deduction

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Is Congress finally moving toward fundamental tax code reform -- a streamlining that lowers maximum individual rate brackets, cuts taxes for corporations, but also might take whacks at the mortgage interest deduction, second homes and second mortgages, among a myriad of other special interest write-offs? Incredibly enough, it looks like it just might. With the publication yesterday of a key component of the effort -- a long-awaited, 560-page report from the nonpartisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation summarizing the findings of 11 reform "working groups," including one focused solely on real estate, House and Senate tax leaders now have the raw materials and some options from which to craft a giant reform bill, should they choose to pursue one. There appears to be little question now that they will, and that is triggering back-room alerts among mortgage and real estate groups that want to preserve current tax benefits with minimal or no changes. Top Capitol Hill r...