Congress: The Real Grinch That Stole Christmas (for Homeowners)

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Congress: The Real Grinch That Stole Christmas (for Homeowners)

Dec, 11th 2016

Could it be a grim and Grinchy December for thousands of homeowners facing ongoing challenges with their mortgage payments and property values? Could popular deductions for mortgage insurance premiums and energy-efficient home improvements abruptly vanish?

That's the way things are shaping up in the closing weeks of the post-election lame duck congressional session. Republicans controlling the tax-writing committees in the House and Senate say they have no plans to extend expiring tax code provisions such as mortgage debt forgiveness for financially troubled owners; mortgage insurance write-offs used by moderate-income first-time buyers; and deductions for purchases of energy-saving windows, insulation and other improvements.

All three benefits terminate Dec. 31. Unlike previous years, when Congress extended them, this year is different. There is strong sentiment, especially in the House, that a comprehensive...

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