Franchise Tax Board Exempts Short Sale Taxes in California

bigstock_Underwater_Short_Sale_Words_On_13943735For those of you who follow my Sacramento real estate blog and listen to me blab, you already know that the IRS has issued its IRS mortgage debt relief letter that exempts certain California residents on a federal level from paying tax on the deficiency after a short sale. Everybody wants to know about short sale taxes in California, and now you can read the IRS response to short sale letter at Scribd. This isn’t much help to homeowners in other states, but I sell real estate in California, so I follow closely mostly what happens to short sale sellers in Sacramento.

This morning I feel like one of those Ron Popeil commercials, but wait, there is MORE! Not only are most short sale sellers in California exempt from paying tax on mortgage debt relief to the IRS, but the State of California has issued a letter ruling that Californians are exempt from state income tax liability for a short sale as well. Short sale taxes in California just headed south. The letter was issued by the California Franchise Tax Board and obtained by the California State Board of Equalization, as announced by the California Association of REALTORS, working with Senator Barbara Boxer.

What does all of this mean? It means while homeowners are left chewing on their fingernails about the 2007 Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act expiring at the end of 2013, coupled with the fact California still has not extended its own version of the act for 2012, that sellers can pretty much raise a middle finger and call it a day. Goodbye short sale taxes in California. Doesn’t seem to much matter what our legislators do, on a national or state level, because we now have letters of clarification that provide protection for the bulk of distressed sellers after a short sale.

George Runner, a member of the Board of Equalization, is in the spotlight for obtaining the letter. I can’t find the letter on his website, though. For the interim, those of you who would be exempt if our men and women in the legislature had ever gotten it together enough to rub two nickels and pass the darn exemption, can coast through this concern. Be sure to check with your accountant to ensure that and your short sale qualifies for the exemption from mortgage debt relief.

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