The legislation includes retirement and other savings enhancements, reforms to the Internal Revenue Service, and temporary tax relief for victims of the wildfires in California and for communities impacted by hurricanes Florence and Michael, and by storms and volcanoes in the Pacific.
The bill also addresses the tax extenders, a series of temporary tax provisions that expired at the end of 2017. It would extend through 2018 the following expired provisions:
- Deduction for Mortgage Insurance. Allows taxpayers, subject to an income cap beginning at $100,000, to deduct premiums paid for private mortgage insurance and FHA/RHA/VA insurance premiums.
- Section 45L Tax Credit for Energy Efficient New Homes. Provides builders a $2,000 tax credit for the construction of homes exceeding heating and cooling energy standards by 50%. The base energy code is the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code plus supplements. Builders must have tax basis in the home to claim the credit (i.e., they must own and then sell/lease the residence).
- Section 25C Tax Credit for Qualified Energy Efficiency Improvements. This policy offers a credit worth up to $500 (subject to a $500 lifetime cap), with lower caps for certain products, like windows, for consumers to install qualified energy-efficient upgrades.
- Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief. The provision eliminates any taxes home owners might face due to renegotiating the terms of a home loan, which result in forgiving or canceling a portion of the outstanding mortgage, particularly in connection with short sales. It applies only to principal residences and is extended for 2015 and 2016. The exclusion is also modified to debt discharged in 2017 if the discharge is pursuant to a written agreement entered into in 2016.
- Section 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction. Provides a deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for commercial and multifamily buildings that exceed specific energy efficiency requirements under ASHRAE 2007.
The legislation also includes a fix to an issue that could affect certain Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects using tax-exempt bonds that are designed to serve veterans. Some bond attorneys have recently raised concerns that while Section 42 allows LIHTC projects to include preferences for veterans, Section 142, which governs tax-exempt bonds, contains no similar exemption from the public use requirements. The included fix would clarify that veteran-focused LIHTC projects that rely on bonds are permitted.