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Old 10-30-2005, 08:53 AM
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Lightbulb Congress could take away mortgage interest and tax deductions from homeowners?

WASHINGTON Is there really any chance that Congress could take away mortgage interest and state and local property and income tax deductions from homeowners?

A presidentially appointed bipartisan commission is expected to urge precisely that on Tuesday when it delivers its final report to the Bush administration. The mortgage-interest deduction, which allows write-offs on first and second loan amounts up to $1.1 million, would be scrapped and replaced with a 15% credit on sharply limited mortgage amounts. Deductions for state and local property and income taxes would be eliminated altogether. The 15% credit would only be for mortgages up to a $300,000 to $350,000 ceiling. Interest on home-equity loans no longer would be tax-deductible.

In exchange for these losses of tax benefits, the advisory panel would eliminate the alternative minimum tax, add $100,000 to the current $500,000 tax-free exclusion on home sale profits, lower capital-gains tax rates, cut the number of tax brackets and provide a variety of other simplifications to the federal tax code.

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