Real estate and property tax

Retail ripple effect: Bad times for commercial real estate can mean a tenants' market

With For Lease signs going up on windows of empty stores in shopping centers and malls since the end of the holiday shopping season, the ripple effect of the slowdown in retail spending on commercial real estate is becoming more evident every day. NAI Global, a major real estate leasing and financing firm, reports that the national average rental rate for regional malls fell 21 percent in 2008, and the vacancy rate nationwide increased by 15 percent to 5.6 percent, USA Today reports.
Tax

IRS offers lien relief for financially distressed homeowners

The Internal Revenue Service has announced an expedited process that will make it easier for financially distressed homeowners to avoid having a federal tax lien block refinancing of mortgages or the sale of a home.If taxpayers are trying to refinance or sell a home and there is a federal tax lien filed, there are options. Taxpayers or their representatives, such as their lenders, may request that the IRS make a tax lien secondary to the lien by the lending institution that is refinancing or restructuring a loan.
Tax

Last year's mortgage legislation may prove useful at tax time

No matter what the circumstances, from job loss or illness to changing market conditions, many homeowners are facing foreclosure or a short sale of their home this year. As the Government takes action to stabilize the housing market, homeowners who lose their homes should understand the potential tax implications and new rules regarding these transactions.
Tax

1031 exchangers earmark significant October 18 date

When a taxpayer exchanges (under Section 1031) their relinquished property after October 18th, they will have less than 180 days in which to close on the purchase of their replacement property - UNLESS the taxpayer obtains an extension for filing their income tax return. This is very important, because the deadline for completing the taxpayer's exchange is the earlier of 180 days from the closing of the relinquished property, or the due date of filing the tax return, including any extensions therein.

Senate passes Housing bill; Bush promises to sign

After several passes back and forth between the House and Senate, on Saturday, in a rare weekend session, the U.S. Senate voted 72 to 13 to pass the bi-partisan Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, a bill passed by the House last Wednesday. President Bush has indicated he will sign the bill into law in spite of several objections he has to the bill.In the wake of 10 bank closings in the past 18 months, the new housing bill is the government's latest response to the national housing crisis.

House passes housing bailout bill; Bush signs

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, designed to reduce foreclosures, strengthen the housing market and shore up lending institutions will also change the amounts many taxpayers owe to the IRS, according to CCH. The Act passed the House last Wednesday, July 23, and the Senate is scheduled to follow suit shortly, with assurance from the White House that President Bush will sign the measure. Some of the tax provisions in the measure are aimed at raising revenue to pay for the bailout of the housing market. Other tax breaks are aimed at encouraging investment in low-income housing.

Congress working on bill to help homeowners

The Senate voted heavily on favor of a mortgage rescue bill last Thursday, but House leaders are planning to rework key parts of the bill while the White House is threatening a veto.The proposal involves the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) backing up to $300 billion in new loans, providing for more affordable, fixed-rate mortgages. The idea is to avoid foreclosures, not only for homeowners, but for the lenders, who would agree to take on a substantial loss but could reclaim some of the money.New U.S.

Lenders shutting the door to home equity lines of credit

Your home equity line of credit may no longer be the safety net you've grown accustomed to, whether you use it for large-scale home renovations or as an emergency fund when unexpected expenses pop up.Lenders are putting on the brakes - cutting off existing home equity lines of credit and limiting new lines. The Wall Street Journal reports major lenders, including Bank of America, Citibank, Countrywide Financial, Washington Mutual Bank, and USAA, have informed hundreds of thousands of customers that their lines of credit have been frozen this year.
Tax

Additional relief granted to owners of houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina

If Hurricane Katrina destroyed your primary residence, The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has again extended the time you have to sell the lot that the house stood on and enjoy more favorable tax benefits.Normally, federal law gives owners of homes that are destroyed two years to sell the lot that remains and still be able to qualify for tax advantages. But beyond two years, the sale of these properties is considered the sale of vacant land and larger tax implications apply, according to The Times-Picayune.This month, the IRS extended the deadline by 16 months.
Tax

Business Tax Index 2008 ranks state tax systems

With April 15, "Tax Day," just behind us, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) has published the "Business Tax Index 2008: Best to Worst State Tax Systems for Entrepreneurship and Small Business," ranking the states according to the costs of their tax systems for small business start up and growth.SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan said, "Entrepreneurs and small businesses have to struggle every day with the costs of taxation, which affect a wide array of decisions, including hiring, investment, expansion, and location.

Senate votes for tax breaks for home builders and credits for home buyers

Focusing on problems faced by the home building industry in the current housing crisis, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly last Thursday to give home builders a $6 billion tax break by temporarily extending a rule that lets businesses count current losses against taxes from prior profitable years.
Tax

Tax credit for buying foreclosed properties debated in Senate

The Senate is debating a $7,000 tax credit designed to help sell foreclosed homes and the proposal is getting a chilly reception from both the Bush administration and Democrats in the House.Primarily sponsored by Republicans, the $7,000 tax credit is designed to stabilize home prices and keep neglected houses from dragging down neighborhoods, the Associated Press reports. But economists point out that banks could be more likely to foreclose on a house instead of working with a homeowner who is delinquent on mortgage payments.
Tax

IRS provides safe harbor guidance for personal use of Section 1031 investment home

Recognizing that many taxpayers who own properties primarily for rental income use them occasionally for personal purposes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in February clarified safe harbor rules for personal use of properties that are held under IRC Section 1031 as for productive use or for investment. These properties qualify for deferred payment of capital gain.
Tax

Indiana homeowners benefit from new tax law while sales tax increases

A new tax restructuring plan in Indiana cuts property taxes for homeowners while giving them more control over the rates of increases in the future.Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the tax package on Wednesday to lower property taxes and raise the sales tax from 6 to 7 percent effective April 1. Homeowners will get an average 30 percent property tax cut, starting with May bills.House Speaker Pat Bauer told the Louisville Courier-Journal that millions of people were afraid of property taxes costing them their home.
Tax

New IRS tax form helps homeowners with mortgage relief

Homeowners whose mortgage debt was partly or entirely forgiven during 2007 may be able to claim special tax relief by filling out newly-revised Form 982 and attaching it to their 2007 federal income tax return, according to the Internal Revenue Service. Normally, debt forgiveness results in taxable income. But under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, enacted Dec.
Tax

Pennsylvania diverts gambling revenue to tax rebates for seniors

Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell is encouraging senior citizens and residents with disabilities to apply for Property Tax/Rent Rebates of up to $650. Application forms have been mailed to nearly 550,000 residents who received a rebate last year."Revenue from slots gaming provided desperately-needed property tax relief to nearly 550,000 seniors last year," Governor Rendell said. "Nearly half of those seniors would not have received the rebates without slots gaming revenue.
Technology

Tax reminders for businesses with home offices

In order to educate taxpayers, the IRS has provided this fact sheet which explains the rules for deducting home office expenses.Home Office Deduction: Basic RequirementsGenerally, expenses related to the rent, purchase, maintenance, and repair of a personal residence may not be deducted as a business expense. However, taxpayers who use a portion of their home for business purposes may be able to take a home office deduction if they meet certain requirements.
Tax

Tax relief aimed at easing sub-prime mortgage mess

Amid daily headlines of a worsening housing crisis, debt-burdened homeowners are looking to two pieces of congressional action that could ease the pain.Monday's headlines stated that new home sales fell by 26 percent last year, which is the biggest drop since 1963, the U.S. Department of Commerce says. And last week's headlines said sales of previously owned single-family homes took a dive - the biggest annual drop in 25 years.
Tax

State tax comparison seen as key factor in choosing a retirement destination

With tax season rapidly approaching, many people planning their retirement are wondering how their retirement income will be taxed if they move. Also, what other taxes will they have to confront in their new location.Depending on where you choose to live, your tax bill may affect your ability to enjoy the lifestyle you are seeking. Some states are more tax-friendly to retirees than others.Helping to sort all this out is a Web site run by the Retirement Living Information Center.

Correction expected in real estate market

More than 600 of the nation's leading real estate experts expect the sizzling commercial real estate market in the U.S. to slow in 2008, with a healthy correction that will likely bypass long-term investors but penalize late-to-the-game speculators and overleveraged buyers, according to the annual Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2008 report, released by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.According to the report, real estate investors and developers believe uncertainty will characterize 2008.

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