House Republicans released their proposed tax bill last Thursday. The proposal is a long way from becoming law, but the draft contains three noteworthy items related to housing.
As the law stands now, homeowners can claim as an itemized deduction interest paid on mortgages valued up to $1 million used to acquire or improve a first and/or second home. The plan maintains the current cap for existing homeowners, but cuts it to $500,000 for homes purchased in the future. (The bill would also limit the mortgage interest deduction to one principal home, ending any deductions for vacation homes.)
Another change is to the provision that allows homeowners to exclude from their taxable income up to $250,000 in capital gains ($500,000 for married taxpayers) from a sale of their primary residence. Under the plan, to qualify for this break, homeowners must have owned and lived in the home for at least five of the last eight years. Currently the rule is two of the last five. Taxpayer use of the exclusion would also be limited to one sale every five years, rather than one every two. In addition, under the house bill, you begin to lose the gains exemption if adjusted gross income (in a look-back period) exceeded $500,000 if married or $250,000 if single.
The third change is the proposal to cap the deduction for property tax on a home at $10,000. Currently all state and local taxes are deductible from ordinary income.
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