Homeowners will be hurt financially by last year’s tax reform, according
to a new House Democratic staff report. The report alleges that real
estate developers will primarily benefit from the new tax law at the
expense of homeowners.
The Democratic staff report was released by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., on July 5. The report highlights the effects of specific provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97) on homeowners across the United States.
Home Equity Interest Deduction
Prior to the TCJA, homeowners could deduct interest on home equity loans up to $100,000, as noted in the report. However, the TCJA, enacted last December, retroactively prohibits homeowners from deducting interest on loans of any amount if used for any purpose other than home improvement. According to Cummings’ staff, many homeowners use home equity loans for a variety of reasons, such as medical emergencies or college education.
Real Estate Tax Breaks
The staff report highlights several TCJA provisions that could benefit real estate developers. Among these tax breaks includes the 20-percent deduction for passthrough business income for certain qualifying real estate companies. Additionally, the report notes that under the TCJA, real estate developers are exempt from the new 30-percent limitation on interest deducted by large businesses. Further, the report notes that TCJA exempts real estate from the repeal of favorable tax treatment of like-kind exchanges of business assets and provides a 20-percent deduction for dividends from qualified real estate investment trusts.
"For the first time, this new report shows how big the payoffs were to wealthy real estate developers – more than $66 billion over the next ten years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation," Cummings said in a statement. "They [Republicans] chose to take away a longstanding tax deduction that American families have relied on for decades while at the same time creating $66 billion in new tax breaks for real estate developers," he added.
In response to an inquiry about the report, a House Ways and Means Committee majority spokesperson told Wolters Kluwer on July 6 that the Democratic staff report is a "partisan exercise." "Multiple reports from nonpartisan organizations show strong housing numbers for this year...tax reform allows families to keep more of their hard-earned money to spend on what is important to them. This all is good news for homeowners and those seeking to buy a home," the spokesperson told Wolters Kluwer.