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12.18.19 Federal Government Spending Bill Includes Wins for REALTORS

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a spending package for fiscal year 2020 that includes serveral issues the National Association of REALTORS® has been lobbying for.

The most prominent may be the extension of the National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP) for 9 months.  This is a considerably longer period than past extensions (14 over the last two years).  While extensions are vital, NAR has focused support behind the NFIP Reauthorization Act, which would include a 5 year reauthorization along with reforms to improve mapping, enhance mitigation, and remove obstacles to private flood insurance.

Another inclusion is the extension of the mortgage debt forgiveness tax provision, which had lapsed in 2017.  Mortgage Debt Forgiveness became a center issue specifically during the resession because if a portion of a person's mortgage is forgiven (a common example being a short sale) that portion is counted as income for tax purposes.  This is sometimes known as phantom income.  The mortgage debt forgiveness tax provision removes that portion from being counted as income.  The extension is retroactive back to 2017 and through 2020.  Two other tax provisions where included: the deductibility of premiums for mortgage insurance and the deduction of the cost of impovements for commercial buildings to make them more energy efficient.

On the commercial front, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program was included to be reauthorization for 7 years. Terrorism risk insurance can be required to secure necessary financing for commercial production. 

The bill is expected to pass the Senate this week and President Trump has pledged to sign the bill by Friday to avert a government shutdown. 

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