In December of 2007, Congress signed into law the Mortgage Debt Relief Act to aid distressed homeowners.  Under regular circumstances, when a lender chooses to forgive all or part of a borrower’s debt, that amount is considered income and the borrower is liable to be taxed on it.  However, this law offers relief to the owner of Chester County PA real estate in that debts discharged through calendar year 2012 are not taxable.  Limited to primary residences only, the amount of forgiven mortgage debt allowed to be excluded from income tax is $2 million per year.  Debts reduced through mortgage restructuring as well as mortgage debts forgiven in connection with foreclosure qualify for this relief.

On the fence about selling your underwater Chester County PA real estate as a short sale?  Consider this: if your home isn’t sold before January 1, 2013, and you owe $50,000 more than its market value, you could realistically end up paying more than $12,000 in taxes in 2013 if you’re in the 25% tax bracket! Once you decide on going the short sale or foreclosure route—and remember, short sales often take a long time to sell--the first thing you need to do is to request that your lender officially and in writing  waive any deficiency connected with your Chester County PA real estate.  If this waiver is not granted, the lender has 20 years to obtain repayment from you via collection agencies, garnishments, and/or liens.

Because of the impending deadline and the length of time required for short sales and foreclosures, many real estate and financial gurus stress the importance of acting now to set wheels in motions.  They urge distressed owners of Chester County PA real estate to realize that there is no tax exclusion allowed on pending closings/foreclosures.  Only transactions completed by December 31, 2012, are eligible for income tax relief—and there are no indications that the current deadline will be extended!