NAR President: “Tax Reform Must Protect Homeownership”

As tax reform heats up on Captiol Hill, National Association of Realtors® President William E. Brown is working to make sure the Realtor® message is heard.

In an op-ed to “The Hill,” Brown said Realtors® are eager for responsible reform.

“America’s tax system deserves an overhaul, with an eye toward ensuring individual tax rates are as low as possible while still providing for balanced fiscal policy,” Brown said. “Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle have done tremendous work to get us there, and we’re hopeful this conversation continues.”

But according to Brown, numerous tax provisions important for homeownership and real estate investment are on the table as Congress looks towards a broad tax proposal. For homeowners, Brown says, “the stakes couldn’t be high.”

“Important tax incentives for homeownership and real estate investment like the mortgage interest deduction, state and local property tax deduction, and 1031 like-kind exchange are critical,” Brown said. “They’re key to protecting home values, supporting investment and helping new buyers enter the market.”

Brown added that homeowners already pay between 80 and 90 percent of all federal income taxes, noting that more than half of those claiming the mortgage interest deduction earn less than $100,000 yearly.

With these challenges, however, come opportunities, according to Brown. Broad tax reform should include relief for mortgage debt cancellation, Brown said, to protect homeowners going through a short sale from being hit with a tax on “phantom income.” Brown added that Congress should also consider indexing the capital gains exclusion for home sales in recognition of the effects of inflation.

The entire op-ed is available online at The Hill, where it first appeared.