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If you owe a debt to someone else and they cancel or forgive that debt, the canceled amount may be taxable.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 extends the exclusion from gross income of discharge of qualified principal residence indebtedness, which generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualifies for the relief.

This provision applies to debt forgiven in calendar years 2007 through 2017. Up to $2 million of forgiven debt is eligible for this exclusion ($1 million if married filing separately). The exclusion does not apply if the discharge is due to services performed for the lender or any other reason not directly related to a decline in the home’s value or the taxpayer’s financial condition.

How do I report the forgiveness of debt that is excluded from gross income?

  1. Check the appropriate box under Line 1 on Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness (and Section 1082 Basis Adjustment) to indicate the type of discharge of indebtedness and enter the amount of the discharged debt excluded from gross income on Line 2. Any remaining canceled debt must be included as income on your tax return.
  2. File Form 982 with your tax return.

To access Form 1099-C Cancellation of Debt:

  1. From within your TaxAct return (Online or Desktop), click Federal. On smaller devices, click in the upper left-hand corner, then click Federal.
  2. Click Other Income in the Federal Quick Q&A Topics menu to expand, then click Cancellation of Debt (Form 1099-C).
  3. Click + Add Form 1099-C to create a new copy of the form or click Edit to review a form already created.
  4. Continue with the interview process to enter all of the appropriate information.

If you qualify for this exclusion, you would use Form 982 to report the exclusion of the canceled debt. Form 982 will follow the Form 1099-C interview.

More information, including detailed examples can be found in Publication 4681 Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions, and Abandonments (for Individuals).

Note that any link in the information above is updated each year automatically and will take you to the most recent version of the document at the time it is accessed.


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