taxes

Beware these 5 terrible tax surprises

Taxes » Tax Law » Beware These 5 Terrible Tax Surprises

Forgiven debt
Forgiven debt

"Forgive but collect" is the IRS motto when it comes to canceled debt.

Getting your credit card bill cut from $8,000 to $4,000 certainly helped your personal bottom line. But it also could be a boon to the U.S. Treasury. Why? The tax law generally considers the amount you get any creditor to write off as earned, and therefore taxable, income to you. Expect the accommodating debtholder to send you (and the IRS) a Form 1099-C or similar statement detailing your discharge of indebtedness as miscellaneous income.

Not every debt settlement, however, has to pad Uncle Sam's pocket. Under the Mortgage Debt Relief Act that became law in 2007, some homeowners who are granted forgiveness of mortgage debt won't have to pay taxes on that amount.

There are some restrictions. The forgiven debt amount is limited to up to $2 million, or $1 million for a married person filing a separate tax return. The tax relief only applies to mortgage debt discharged by a lender between 2007 and 2013. And the forgiven loan must have been taken out to buy or build a primary residence, not a second home or vacation home.

If Congress doesn’t extend mortgage debt relief for 2014 and future tax years, canceled home loan debt will return to the taxable income category.

advertisement

Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us
advertisement
MORTGAGE HOME EQUITY AUTO CDs CREDIT CARDS
Product Rate Change Last week
30 year fixed, 0 point 4.41%  0.03 4.44%
15 year fixed, 0 point 3.33%  0.02 3.31%
5/1 ARM 3.34%  0.21 3.55%
 
View Rates in your area Search
Product Rate Change Last week
30K FICO-based HELOC 4.75% --0.00 4.75%
50K FICO-based HELOC 4.51%  0.01 4.50%
100K FICO-based HELOC 4.24% --0.00 4.24%
 
View Rates in your area Search
Product Rate Change Last week
60 month used car loan 2.86%  0.23 3.09%
48 month used car loan 2.79%  0.42 3.21%
60 month new car loan 2.94%  0.04 2.98%
 
View Rates in your area Search
Product Rate Change Last week
1 Year CD 0.89%  0.01 0.88%
2 Year CD 1.01%  0.02 1.03%
5 Year CD 1.59%  0.01 1.60%
 
View Rates in your area Search
Product Rate Change Last week
Balance Transfer Cards 15.71%  0.01 15.70%
Cash Back Cards 16.36% --0.00 16.36%
Low Interest Cards 10.91% --0.00 10.91%
 
Search
DAILY TAX TIP NEWSLETTER

Get expert advice during tax season on tax preparation and tips for cutting your tax bill.

advertisement

Connect with us