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Dec
21
NAR Brings Positive Changes to Tax Reform

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WASHINGTON – Dec. 20, 2017 – Saying he takes "too many jabs at the National Association of Realtors® (NAR)" Brad Inman with Inman News admitted that NAR "does some things so damn well, like influencing the laws of the real estate land."


The tax reform effort touched on many facets of real estate, including things like the mortgage interest deduction, capital gains tax savings at the time of sale and the deductibility of state and local taxes. NAR also fought to retain net neutrality, which would give small brokers and agents equal footing on the internet with big advertising firms and mega-brokers.


"On both of these gnarly issues, NAR was in the middle of the raucous debate, lobbying, pushing and cajoling the politicians," Inman writes.
Inman lists the following as positive changes that resulted from NAR lobbying efforts which included Calls for Action – a callout to members to contact their personal legislators and advocate for the Realtor position:


Mortgage interest deduction (MID)
NAR didn't want the MID cap any lower than its current cap of $1 million, but initial tax reform efforts knocked that down by half. In the end, lawmakers agreed to make the cap $750,000 for both primary and second homes. But that cap only applies to new mortgages. Current homeowners will keep their current $1 million mortgage interest deduction limit.


Capital gains taxes
Lawmakers wanted to change the rules for homeowners to avoid paying capital gains taxes on a homesteaded residence. The original tax reform plan required them to live in a home at least five years before they could exempt $250,000 (single filers) or $500,000 (joint filers) from paying any capital gains taxes. In the end, however, the rules didn't change. To net the exemption, homeowners must live in the home under current standards – two out of the last five years."NAR won this fight without a blemish on the exemption," writes Inman.


Deducting state and local taxes
Early versions of tax reform nixed the ability to deduct local, state and property taxes. In the final version, they're all deductible though capped at $10,000."This was a compromise, but a win for NAR," Inman writes."Political observers say NAR's long-standing credibility inside the Beltway and, of course, it's staggering political contributions, were central to swaying Congress on these issues," Inman concludes. "NAR is a well-oiled political machine that does not always get its way, but it is smart about how it picks its issues and is staffed by some of the best and brightest folks in the D.C. lobbying circuit."

Source: Inman News, "The National Association of Realtors is the industry's best hope for protection, Dec. 19, 2017, Brad Inman.
© 2017 Florida Realtors


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