Tax Heaven


By NAR 2013 President Gary Thomas

On April 15th, it’s a good time to remember something Will Rogers once said.  He noted that, “the difference between death and taxes is death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.”

Thank goodness!

As the U.S. Congress considers action on comprehensive tax reform, you can be sure that NAR is doing its best to protect the many long-standing tax incentives to home and property ownership.

These include the following:

We’re going to have to stay on top of the action.  These are complicated issues that will not be settled with a direct up or down vote that affects only real estate.  They may easily be tucked into the language on a larger bill, and things may move very fast when the time comes.

Right now, we’re in the early stages of what we expect will be a long process.  The House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee are holding ongoing meetings on the issues.  As REALTORS®, we have a seat at the table and are sharing our views.

We tell members of Congress and staff how necessary these incentives are for rebuilding the national economy.  Since we’re in the midst of a fragile recovery, additional housing taxes would crush the real estate market just as it is poised to help lift us out of the economic doldrums.

Our goal is to see that the tax code will continue to reflect the fundamental American value that homeownership helps build financial stability.  Not only is this the right policy for housing, it’s also the best for families, for communities and the entire country.

Our government tax policy should encourage homeownership while giving more Americans a chance for their little piece of heaven.  Support NAR and keep real estate tax incentives alive!

  1. John L Felderman

    We must do everything possible to maintain our housing markets which affect a majority of the people around the county. To have to pay taxes on their personal home would affect many people who require the results of many years of putting money into their home (ie.30 years) to help support them in their retirement years. Real estate tax incentives are necessary to maintain the housing market which affects many other industries that are in a recovery mode.

  2. Robert Little

    NAR is still not fighting the right battle. Very soon, interest on home loans will be treated just like social security taxes. Not deductible. Why? Because government has almost replaced private equity markets in the home loan business. While we were fighting to keep banks out of our industry (a distraction) the government took over instead. Whether its a short-sale, foreclosure or purchase using FHA/HUD financing, our government is now calling the shots.

    What really galls me is the association I have been a member of for nearly 25 years was an enabling force in bringing down the institutions that established our nation as the greatest economic miracle in the history o mankind. Welcome to our new emerging 3rd world status. I pray we have learned something, but doubt it.

  3. Dan

    The Obama Administration and friends in the Democrat Party in Congress have set about with the most massive redistribution/reparations campaign, since the communist revolutions in China and Russia. Their “credit card” bill must be paid someday by somebody . . . namely the roughly 50% of Americans who DO pay federal taxes and WHO DO have wealth in the form of home ownership or other investments. Don’t forget the 3.8% Obamacare surtax on all investment gains from sales.
    Realtors depend upon people with income and/or wealth or discretionary spending power . . . all of whom are taxed by the Federal Government and the Obama camp. And, I don’t mean subprime borrowers. They should all be renters. Yet, I know of many Realtors who voted for Obama and continue to support him and his agenda.
    It’s time for the NAR to take a vocal political stand against Obama and his minions and to admonish Realtors who support his agenda. Who cares if we can’t deduct our Realtor dues in the future . . . Obama wants to limit deductible expenses as well.
    Quit whining about the proposed tax increases coming from the Obamanazis and start pointing your rhetoric at the problem, namely Obama and his Democrat regime. I’m ashamed to be a member of the NAR, when the leadership incessantly tiptoes around the real gorilla in the room.
    Insist that Realtors vote for business minded candidates. I still can’t believe that Americans are so stupid as to take Obama over an accomplished familyman, citizen, businessman and politican the likes of Mitt Romney. Oh yeh, I forgot that most of those Americans get checks from Obama.
    It won’t get any better until we get rid of Obama and his regime, so the NAR must insist on business-minded/Republican candidates in the off-year election.
    Take a stand!

  4. John A Whiting

    Hi Gary. Thanks for the update on the On-Going battle to maintain the current Tax stimuli to encourage home ownership. I will continue to do my part in my brokerage business.
    With respect to Congress, and the Senate, I do not have much faith. They will slam dunk a bill that will Weddle away more of the American rights we have come to enjoy.
    It will be a full time job monitoring our elected officials’ activities.
    Thank You
    John A Whiting
    Whiting Realty

  5. We are one of the few first world countries that still allows a tax deduction for home interest and the countries that disallowed it still continue to buy and live in houses.
    I feel this is a tax break that favors housing over other asset purrchases and that it contributed to the bubble and bust.I think it should be phased out.

  6. Hi Gary,

    I fully support our Association working hard to protect the few tax deductions that help make home ownership possible for all folks, from the first time buyers to the Investors!

    Their purchases bring many jobs to our economy. Congress & the Senate need to reflect on just a few of the industries that thrive because of Real Eastate purchases… like the farmer who does excavating work on the side, the architects who do designs, cabinet makers, carpenters, electricians, painters, insulators, inspectors, landscapers, plumbers, roofers, builders who make dreams come true, appliance & technology producers, and all other manufacturers and retailers who make and sell products that are the ingredients in these homes and buildings.

    My prayers are with you for continued success with this endeavor.

    Many thanks!

    Lynn Maier, Realtor, CRS, Legend Award Recipient
    Prudential Preferred Realty,
    Cranberry Twp, PA 16066

    Licensed Agent, Pennsylvania

  7. Anna Sosbe

    Keep up the good work. Nearly every American looks forward to owning their own home.

  8. Very timely item. There are more taxes and fees on real estate today than in Will Rogers time which proves that his comments above were correct!

  9. I find it ironic that the programs that professed to afford home ownership to all Americans – namely 100% financing – has created a situation whereinour government sees the solution as taxation of those same homeowners making homeownership less affordable and excluding many new home buyers in the process. Hmmmm . . . someone in Washington needs to notice, the Emperor is Naked!

  10. You know, it’s very frustrating that NAR and Minnesota’s MAR leadership keep coming to Realtors asking for help, calls to action emails, and donations for RePac on these issues. These same issues, year in, year out for decades! And RePac support is given out by NAR at 67% to Democrats, in MAR 80% to Democrats.
    We are preached, scolded, hammered to disclose, disclose, disclose to our customers. Why don’t you list which party is proposing these new taxes and fees? And has been for decades? Then explain why we keep feeding the hand that slaps us. Not just with inventive new ways to tax us and our clients, but also new ways to regulate us and our clients.
    Maybe all of our jobs would get easier if we’d just stop helping elect the party that has attacked us for decades. Obviously, they don’t appreciate the help.
    What did you expect from them? Oh, are you one of them to???? sorry

  11. Sandra Coon

    There is no other reason to own a home if Congress and Senate representatives crush our deductions and incentives for buying property. Why bother, even if rental costs are higher than a house payment? The truth is the homeowner pays for all maintenance, repairs, unexpected catastrophic happenings to property (think New Jersey and Long Island). Why buy with no benefits and tons of expenses? Killing the benefits to homeownership is the same as killing our fledgling economic recovery which is essentially based on real estate just as it crashed based on real estate. This is a top priority: thank you for keeping up the pressure on our elected officials.

  12. Congress is killing the real estate market. They will hurt the market and all the middle class home owners if they take away the “Mortgage Interest Deduction”. These people (Congress) don’t have a clue about real estate or business!!!

  13. Bill Schwent

    I have objections to taxes as much as anyone, probably more. However, after being a Realtor for almost 40 years and a citizen for even more (including a tour of duty with the US Army in the Republic of Vietnam), I understand that the only way way we can strengthen our economy, which is failing so many of our citizens, is to bring some sanity to our tax system. The mortgage interest deduction needs to be preserved … but not for multiple million dollar homes or for mortgages in excess of, say, $750,000. We, as an association, to be credible, need to extend a hand of compromise and common sense so that we can retain self-respect as an organization while simultaneously advancing the discussion on tax fairness.

  14. Ann Pittman

    We need to fight to keep these tax deductions. These tax deductions, help the average working income Americans – one great reason to purchase a home (the American dream). These deductions also help landlords, keeping the rents lower for us Americans. We also need to fight against any new tax on selling our homes. Thank you President Gary Thomas for keeping us informed.

  15. gary hofmann

    Every American should continue to enjoy the historic tax benefits of home ownership. It is after all, the American Dream. Congress has, in recent years, extended many tax benefits to special interests and to the benefit of the very rich. Why not continue the time tested tax benefits to all Americans…not just the very rich!

  16. Pete Gootos

    Washington, isn’t time say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’
    Remember there is always tomorrow

  17. M.I.D. creates a liquidity exchange (tax deduction for expendable funds) of which move through the economy stimulating a greater tax base, increase of production in goods and the purchase of the same AND that equals JOBS – tell them I said so… Not to darn hard to figure out – unless you “Play” for a living in Washington…. Mental and Political hand ball to justify your existence….

    Ed Franklin
    Dandridge, tn. 37725
    Dedicated to: Martha Dandridge Washington (George Too!)

  18. sandy sanford

    I can’t agree more. It was the lenders and lack of
    appropriate governmental controls that landed us in
    the current predicament. Why soooo many people
    have lost everything. I can’t believe this is even a
    possibility right now….when you’re down and out and
    gradually climbing up and you then get slapped in the
    face one more time. Makes my blood pressure rise
    to serious levels. Is the populance’s best interests
    really being served!!!

  19. Paul Knipper

    Is NAR to consider any changes to the MID? Primary residence only? 1st Mortgage only? Mortgage amount cap?

  20. It is critical for the U.S. Government to support and respect home ownership. Please continue working in the best interest of ALL of the people to protect the values of homeownership.

  21. In many of our communities here in New Jersey the monthly cost for Real Estate taxes is more than the monthly cost of principal and interest necessary to amortize a mortgage loan. If we lose the deduction it will have a major negative impact on home affordability and the market

  22. Gary O'Neal

    Interest of 2nd and subsequent homes and carried interest of commercial is nothing more than loopholes which need closing. And, no I’m not new – Licensed since 1978.

  23. francis y takahashi

    We must all unite behind this effort to preserve what may be our last line of defense against big government encroachment on property rights for the American public.
    This coalition must include Realtors, Affiliates, professional trainers and speaker, and most of all, the real estate owning public.

  24. I am so proud to be a Realtor – I am so proud and fortunate, that our local-, state- and national Board of Realtors not only protecting my clients, friends, communities they are protecting the “American Dream” – Homeownership matters. Thank you all and I am looking forward going to Washington D.C. again in May with our Realtor Family!

  25. We have to keep Mortage interest and Property Taxes as a deductiable other wise this will ruin the Real Estate market,the reason for home ownership

    Dorothy Iacadoro
    Broker and Owner
    Alpha Omega Real Estate
    Plymouth,Ma 02360

  26. I am in agreement with the president of the NAR for the fact that everybody deserves to have a share of the American dream. Real estate is one important component of the national economy, and of course, keeping taxes under a certain controlled level will encourage homeownership in our great country. To repeat Mr. Gary Thomas, president of the NAR, “since we are in the early stages of what we expect will be a long process”. The House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee are holding ongoing meetings on the issues. As REALTORS®, we ought to have a seat at the table to share our views on the subject. Although we may not see things happen as easily as we could imagine, we muswt stay very active on the move to insert it into the language of a larger bill soon.

  27. Excellent commentary of our efforts to protect the American Dream. Homeownership matters.

  28. Remove Second Home Tax Deduction. Keep only Primary Home Tax Deduction.

  29. National Association of Realtors is always doing its best to improve the real estate market. NAR is helping the home owners with the tax benefits.

  30. Joseph Lolli, CCIM

    Dear NAR President Thomas

    Sir, while NAR is narrowly defending a mortgage interest deduction that over 60% of home owners DO NOT avail themselves of since they file the 1040E-Z short form, NAR is actively protesting a popular tax reform that would could double the potential universe of homebuyers in the market by allowing wage earners to bring home their ENTIRE paycheck and expand economic growth and jobs across the U.S.
    There is a bill currently in the House Ways & Means Committee that needs NAR’s support. It is a bill that would abolish the existing tax code and:

    1) ELIMINATE the need for a Mortgage Interest deduction,
    2) ELIMINATE the need for a cap-gains exclusion for principal residence
    3) ELIMINATE the need for deductions related to home ownership
    4) ELIMINATE the need for complex interest management for various properties
    5) ELIMINATE the need to PAY BOTH SIDES OF FICA for self-employed Realtors
    6) ELIMINATE the need to pay ANY TAXES AT ALL on Sales Commissions or any other earned income.
    7) ELIMINATE the need to FILE A RETURN by April 15th.
    8) ELIMINATE the need to withhold and match employee’s taxes & FICA contributions
    9) ELIMINATE the need for any payment of taxes at all on the sale of existing homes.
    10) ELIMINATE the need for any payment of taxes at all on the sale of COMMERCIAL/INVESTMENT real estate transactions.
    11) ELIMINATE the need for paying any federal taxes on existing homes, commercial sales or investments or “Business-to-Business” transfers of goods, services or property.

    Mr. Thomas, HR-25/S-122 is a bill that would abolish our existing 72,000 page tax code and replace it with a 130 page consumption tax that would only apply to purchases of NEW products and services.
    As over 65% of all home sales are of existing properties, the consumption tax would NOT BE APPLICABLE.

    In addition, the cost of building a new home would be reduced as the tax component embedded within the price of every item and component that goes into building a new home would be abolished. Every subcontractor, every shingle, wire, sheet of drywall and cube of concrete has embedded taxes built into the cost that the general contractor pays when constructing that new home. All of those “embedded taxes” can comprise upwards of 12% of the cost of that new home. A $200,000 new home today, could be sold for less than $176,000 and still provide the same benefits to both the home buyer and same profit margin for all those who built and sold that home.

    Also consider that home buyers are spending UNTAXED earnings instead of having to budget their after tax income to buy that home. That factor alone would expand the universe of eligible BUYERS.

    Lastly, as NAR is an advocacy for its member Realtors, we are mostly commissioned brokers and agents. We are mostly self-employed, paying both sides of FICA and all of our income taxes. HR-25/S-122 would completely eliminate all existing federal taxes, including FICA and replaces it with a simple flat sales tax on the purchase of new goods or services…including the purchase of that NEW home. The Closing Attorney would be the responsible party to collect that sales tax and send it to the respective state tax agency who forwards the payment on to the U.S. Treasury Dept.

    No more 15.3% FICA taxes on commission, no more INCOME taxes on commissions.

    We would all pay our taxes when we CHOOSE to buy something. In the 112th Congress, there were over SEVEN DOZEN Cosponsors of this bill. In the new 113rd Congress, there are currently over FIVE DOZEN Cosponsors.

    Mr. Thomas, instead of focusing on DEFENDING a our pet Tax Deduction, let’s ELIMINATE the entire tax!

    Let’s create jobs, stimulate both the housing industry and the U.S. economy by making America the worlds tax haven for business. This would be done by eliminating all taxes on income, profits, dividends and capital gains. Let’s put America back to work! Support the FairTax Bill (HR-25/S-122)
    For more information on HR-25, “the FairTax” please see

    With kind regards,
    Joe Lolli, CCIM
    Edisto Island SC

  31. Please we are just starting to see a market of buyers getting discount properties due to our economy If we change our tax laws now it will send these buyers back under the bush they started crawling out from under !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Phil LIndemer

    I stongly agree that none of these deductions should be touched, if Congress is serious about rebuilding the US economy. Real Estate and Homebuilding are the key to a strong economic climate, as Congress and the American public have come to realize over the last two to five years.

  33. I believe that it is imperative that the mortgage interest deduction, which has been available for many years for home buyers, should remain as it is! It is definitely one of the components of the “American Dream”.I have been a REALTOR for 35 years in Lake Havasu City, Arizona and I know from close contacts with many buyers how important it is to them. The housing industry is on the mend and it will remain a positive factor for our country’s economic recovery! I SAY AGAIN; MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION FOR HOME BUYERS IS A VITAL COMPONENT OF OUR NATIONWIDE RECOVERY!!