Taxes can bite borrowers of home equity loans

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Flickr photo by The Suss-Man (Mike)

Home equity loans have regained some of their popularity in the wake of the housing crisis.

But borrowers need to be clear about the extent of their tax deductibility — at least until (and if) Washington completes wrangling over the deficit.  You’ll find the nitty-gritty in a 16-page PDF published by the IRS, from which I’ll try to furnish just the broadest of strokes.

In essence, you can deduct no more than $100,000.  Except. . . Continue reading

Selling to kin or friend, you must have long arm

(Flickr photo by qwghlm)

Although engaging in any financial dealings with family or business friends can be fraught, it also can be fraud if the transfer of ownership of real estate is not conducted at arm’s length.

I came across a reminder about the danger of selling property to your brother-in-law or best business bud in a recent bankrate.com column by Steve McLinden, who cautions readers that. . . Continue reading

Weekly Roundup with The Big Apple

For the long weekend, this post combines The Big Apple, which I publish on Fridays, with my usual Weekly Roundup.  Have a great Memorial Day weekend!  See you again on Tuesday.

The Big Apple
 

Albany reaches agreement on property-tax cut but apparently not for New York City

Co-op boards levy all kinds of fees, but they must be ‘reasonable’

Don’t sign contract without first reading co-op board application

Residents of massive Lincoln Plaza building sue Millstein Properties over disparate pricing

Gorgeous and relaxing Upper West Side amenity throws a benefit for itself

Co-ops are a different animal

A man’s home can be his garage as well these days

Lead in your pants is okay, but not in an apartment with children

New legislation would give second-home owners a tax break

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TV anchor who wouldn’t dub himself the greatest downsizes to a pied-à-terre

Ostriches will want Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: IRS targets million-dollar loans

Here’s your chance to catch up with news included to inform, enlighten and perhaps even entertain you. To read about The Big Apple, check out the other of today’s posts and look for Out and About early next week.

With the sale of her two apartments, perhaps she’s finding bliss

What would Miss Piggy say about the sale price of her old home?

An actor’s hoping to see live buyers and an author wants $745,000 on Artists’ Row

Case-Shiller records downward trend in January

Percentage of forced sales is rising, putting pressure on prices

Pending home sales increase in February but inconsistently across the country

1.8 million homes now counted as shadow inventory, down from 2 million one year ago

It is no mystery why new homes lag sales of previously owned ones

Slight increase posted for 30-year and adjustable-rate loans

Lying borrower gets a new home complete with bars

Homeowners with more than $1 million mortgage face Continue reading

‘Independent contractor’ abuse is scrutinized

There’s a flurry of activity in the nation’s capital to clamp down on U.S. workers that are misclassified as independent contractors, a category under which all but a tiny minority of real estate agents fall.

According to Realtor magazine, a publication of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the government says far too many businesses are using incorrect employee classifications to avoid paying Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance taxes.

Congress last year started looking into misclassification of employment status in an attempt to get a handle on a problem that the U.S. Department of Labor says is huge – possibly applying to as much as 30 percent of the country’s workforce.

This year, the government’s focus intensified: Continue reading

Maybe it’s OK if taxes dampen spirits, tax energy

Flickr photo by Chris_J

You already know that the IRS is drooling over the impending income tax deadline.  You’re not alone.

This is the time of year when homebuyers are digging through that shoebox with all their receipts, hoping for a refund, dreading the possibility of draining their savings and . . . postponing their search for a new place to live.

Although the weather may be fine and open houses scheduled in seasonally elevated numbers, taxes and their impact in “normal” times tend to sap the resources, energy and motivation of buyers.  (Of course, this is hardly a normal year.)  The nascent vigor of the housing market follows.

It’s just as well: Continue reading

Biggest impact of 80-20 rule change yet to be felt

After literally decades of campaigning by the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums, as well as others, a limitation on the amount of money that a co-op building can collect in rent from commercial (technically, patronage) operations was changed in December 2007 starting that tax year.

The impact of what was an expanded definition of “cooperative” has yet to be fully realized, though there are isolated instances of occasionally enormous benefits.

Until it was changed, the so-called 80-20 rule prevented cooperatives from enjoying a tax deduction for their expenditures on property taxes and mortgage interest if their income from retail stores, garages and such exceeded their operating budgets by 20 percent.

As a result, many commercial tenants were paying a pittance in rent, including nothing in the case of a few nonprofits such as, say, thrift shops.

With a new, more comprehensive definition of “cooperative” in the revised IRS rule, buildings now can permit the budgetary contribution of commercial rent to go over 20 percent.  Continue reading