, Answering FAQ'sTurboTax Employee
A debt includes any indebtedness whether you are personally liable or liable only to the extent of the property securing the debt. Cancellation of all or part of a debt that is secured by property may occur because of a foreclosure, a repossession, a voluntary return of the property to the lender, abandonment of the property, or a principal residence loan modification.
In general, if you are liable for a debt that is canceled, forgiven, or discharged, you will receive a Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, and must include the canceled amount in gross income unless you meet an exclusion or exception. If you receive a Form 1099-C but the creditor is continuing to try to collect the debt, then the debt has not been cancelled and you do not have taxable cancellation of debt income.
If you received a Form 1099-C and the information is incorrect, contact the lender to make corrections.
You must report any taxable amount of a cancelled debt for which you are personally liable, as ordinary income from the cancellation of debt, on your return. You must report the taxable amount of a taxable debt whether or not you receive a Form 1099-C.
Refer to Publication 4681 Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions, and Abandonments, for more detailed information regarding taxability of canceled debt, how to report it, and related exceptions and exclusions.
Caution: If your debt is secured by property and that property is taken by the lender in full or partial satisfaction of your debt, you are treated as having sold that property and may have a taxable gain or loss. The gain or loss on such a deemed sale of your property is an issue separate from whether any cancellation of debt income associated with that same property is includable in gross income. See IRS Publication 544 Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets, and IRS Publication 523 Selling Your Home for detailed information on reporting gain or loss from repossession, foreclosure or abandonment of property.
Canceled Debt that Qualifies for EXCLUSION from Gross Income...
- Debt canceled in a Title 11 bankruptcy case
- Debt canceled during insolvency (debts greater than your assets)
- Cancellation of qualified farm indebtedness
- Cancellation of qualified real property business indebtedness
- Cancellation of qualified principal residence indebtedness
The exclusion for "qualified principal residence indebtedness" provides tax relief on canceled debt for many homeowners involved in the mortgage foreclosure crisis currently affecting much of the United States. The exclusion allows taxpayers to exclude up to $1,000,000 if Married Filing Separately (MFS) or $2,000,000 if Married Filing Jointly (MFJ) of "qualified principal residence indebtedness."
Generally, if you exclude canceled debt from income under one of the exclusions listed above, you must reduce your positive tax attributes (certain credits, losses, basis of assets, etc.), within limits, by the amount excluded. You must file Form 982 Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness, to report the amount qualifying for exclusion and any corresponding reduction of certain tax attributes.
Canceled Debt that Qualifies for EXCEPTION to Inclusion in Gross Income...
- Amounts specifically excluded from income by law such as gifts or bequests
- Cancellation of certain qualified student loans
- Canceled debt, that if paid by a cash basis taxpayer, would be deductible
- A qualified purchase price reduction given by a seller
- Any Pay-for-Performance Success Payments that reduce the principal balance of your home mortgage under the Home Affordable Modification Program
For these additional questions, refer to:
- Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt
- Form 1099-A, Acquisition or Abandonment of Secured Property
- Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes
- How does bankruptcy effect my taxes?
When you still have questions or want confirmation about your tax questions, see Have a Specific Tax Law Question?