This typifies today’s flipper – get a deal on a lazy short-sale, add lipstick, boast of the improvements (“completely remodeled from top to bottom’), and shoot for outrageous profit. What a country!
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The California Association of Realtors’ political action committee gave $500,000 to the state Democratic Party the day before the Democrat-dominated Franchise Tax Board effectively resolved a months-long legislative fight over the state’s tax treatment of short sales.
Tuesday’s donation, reported Wednesday evening, matches the $500,000 the Realtors gave state Democrats in May. The group also gave the party $168,000 earlier in the year and more than $1 million in 2012.
The 2013 contributions, by far the largest to the party in the current election cycle, will help Democratic attempts to keep their two-thirds legislative supermajorities in 2014.
Realtors spokeswoman Lotus Lou denied any connection between the two events. Wednesday’s legal opinion from the Franchise Tax Board stemmed from a September clarification on the issue by the IRS, she said.
“The two did not have any relation to each other,” Lou said.
In her legal opinion, Franchise Tax Board chief counsel Jozel Brunett cited the clarification by the IRS that forgiven debt after a home is sold for less than the amount owed on it should not be treated as taxable income.
“This is welcome news for Californians who have had to short sell their homes this year,” Board of Equalization member George Runner said in a statement. “We learned last month they wouldn’t face a federal tax penalty. We now know they won’t face a state tax hit either.”
Dec. 4 – The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ (C.A.R.) announced today it received a letter from the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), obtained by Board of Equalization (BOE) member George Runner, clarifying that California families who have lost their home in a short sale are not subject to state income tax liability on debt forgiveness “phantom income” they never received in a short sale.
Last month, in a letter to California Sen. Barbara Boxer, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognized that the debt written off in a short sale does not constitute recourse debt under California law, and thus does not create so-called “cancellation of debt” income to the underwater home seller for federal income tax purposes.
Following the IRS’s clarification, C.A.R. sought a similar ruling by the California FTB. Now with the FTB’s clarification, underwater home sellers also are assured that they are not subject to state income tax liability, rescuing tens of thousands of distressed home sellers from California tax liability for debt written off by lenders in short sales.
“We are pleased with the recent clarifications issued by the IRS and the California Franchise Tax Board, which protect distressed homeowners from debt relief income tax associated with a short sale in California,” said C.A.R. President Kevin Brown. “We would like to thank Sen. Boxer and BOE member Runner for their leadership in obtaining this guidance from the IRS and FTB.”
“Distressed California homeowners can now avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy and can opt for a short sale instead, without incurring federal and state tax liability, even after the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 expires at the end of this year.”
The inventory is extremely picked over, and any house within 5% to 10% of being right on price has sold – leaving only the junkers, bad locations, and OPTs (see video). When a hot new listing hits the market, it really stands out – making buyers jump.
The wild and furious bidding wars for the high-quality properties are likely to continue – if you are thinking of moving, get good help!:
This Sunday night you’ll find me and a couple of lawyers near the front of the stage at the Belly Up Tavern for X and the Blasters – don’t miss it:
From the latimes.com:
They didn’t, however, lose their appetite for condos.
Changing cultural attitudes and skyrocketing home prices have boosted demand for condominiums this year, experts say. For many, condos are the only affordable path to homeownership in urban areas near jobs, cafes and boutiques.
“People who a year ago could afford houses can’t,” said Richard Green, director of USC’s Lusk Center for Real Estate. “But they can afford condos.”