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What are the tax consequences to the seller of a short sale?

Before, the Seller was sometimes required to declare the difference between the loan principal and the amount the bank received as income on their tax forms, and pay tax on it. In November 2007, a law was passed that changed this. Effective January 1, 2008, "Forgiven Mortgage Debt" (the difference between the principal and the amount the bank received) is excluded from taxable income. There are restrictions. In order to qualify for this exclusion, the house must be occupied by the owner as a principal residence (not a summer home, vacation house, rental property, etc.). Investors do not qualify.

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