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Real Estate

Sometimes a blank slate isn’t such a good thing

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U.S. senators are considering revisions to the tax code this week and are reportedly taking what they’re calling a “blank slate” approach to the process.

This means that they will supposedly be eliminating all deductions, credits and allowances and then looking for member/constituent feedback on which one should be retained in the reform. Homeowners (either current or prospective) have a lot to lose from this approach.

The mortgage interest deduction is a keystone in our ability to preserve homeownership for as many Americans as possible. With all the expenses homeowners need to shoulder, having the interest (which is most of the payment, let’s be honest) deductible is a godsend each year. The limits should be indexed for inflation but the deduction retained. Along the same lines, the property tax (a favorite means of extorting money from Pennsylvanians) deduction is important to retain.

As a side note, I should point out that I am in favor of the elimination of the property tax altogether in favor of a use tax. Also, the exclusion of capital gains on the sale of a principal residence preserves some of the recently shrinking net worth of homeowners and should be retained.

There are a few other homeowner- and business owner-friendly tax provisions being wiped out as a result of the “blank slate” approach over in Washington. Please call your senator to voice your support for preserving these incentives for home ownership in America. While I’m in favor of tax reform and especially simplification, sometimes a “blank slate” isn’t such a good thing.

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