With the proposed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, congress is threatening tax incentives for homeowners, like the mortgage interest deduction and the state and local property tax deduction. These incentives are critical for a strong housing market that creates jobs and builds stable communities. This bill is a direct threat to consumers and homeowners. Not only will millions of homeowners not benefit from the proposal, many will get a tax increase. Additionally, homeowners could lose substantial equity from the more than 10% drop in home values likely to result if the bill is enacted.

The legislation includes a cap on mortgage interest deduction at $500K for new mortgages, limits on the exemption on Capital Gains Tax from the sale of a primary residence, elimination of the deduction for state and local income or sales taxes, elimination of the Mortgage Interest Deduction for second homes, elimination of the deduction for moving expenses, elimination of the deduction for personal casualty losses, such as from hurricanes or wildfires, elimination of the deduction on interest on student loans and elimination of the deduction for medical expenses, even for the elderly.

Florida Taxpayers Pay the Price

If homeowners can deduct the interest they pay on their mortgage, the overall cost of that mortgage goes down. However, the national tax-reform debate has expanded beyond the simple Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID), and Congress may change the fundamental way incomes taxes have worked for years. The dominant proposals now make homeownership less desirable overall. As currently written, the MID will become worthless for anyone other than the rich, and the ability to deduct real estate taxes could possibly disappear altogether.

The MID: In 2014, the average Florida taxpayer who claimed the MID subtracted $9,100 from his or her taxable income as a result, according to NAR research. Floridians at the IRS’s marginal rate of 25 percent saved $2,280 in taxes as a direct result of the MID.

Property taxes: The average taxpayer claiming the real estate tax deduction subtracted $4,850 from taxable income in 2014, according to NAR research. At that same marginal tax rate of 25 percent, the average Florida taxpayer saved $1,220 in taxes as a direct result.

Home values: The MID and property tax deduction losses would have devalued Florida homes by 13 percent in 2014, NAR says. For a median Florida home value of $166,900 that year, it would mean a loss of $21,900 for the typical homeowner.

Home values over time: Those numbers – a combined cost of $3,500 for both taxes in 2014 – would continue year after year.

NAR says that the financial hit to all Floridians would have been $139,624,891,000 in lost savings in 2014.

“Realtors reject proposals that repeal or weaken tax incentives to encourage homeownership,” NAR said in a statement. “We need tax reform, but it must first do no harm.”

The tax changes could lead to a United States where many middle-class homeowners pay more taxes than renters. Homeowners already pay 83 percent of all federal income taxes – a share that would likely go higher under the proposed reform framework. It could also make any future recession far worse than the recent Great Recession.

To make your voice heard, link to NAR’s Call for Action, fill in a few boxes, and allow NAR to send an email to your personal representatives in Congress. This is important for homeowners. It’s important for you.

Here is the Bottom Line for Florida Home Owners

  • Home equity could drop by 13%
  • Second–home ownership under attack: Loss of mortgage interest deduction on second homes, which account for 25 percent of all home sales in Florida
  • Big increase in the amount of time homeowners must live in their home to qualify for capital gains exemption, effectively trapping them in their homes for five years

Please CLICK HERE to tell your representatives in Congress to vote no on this bill.

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