Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) announced the introduction of legislation to make homeownership more affordable for working families and to restore the deduction for property and casualty losses for property owners who lose their home in a disaster.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created economic chaos for millions of American families,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “As our nation struggles to recover from the pandemic, we must take action to ensure a new foreclosure crisis does not take hold. Tax policy plays an important role in helping Americans achieve the dream of homeownership and keeping homeownership affordable.”

Mortgage Insurance Tax Deduction Act

This bill would make permanent the existing deduction for mortgage insurance premiums. This provision of the federal tax code makes it more affordable for families who need it most to purchase a home.

“Homeownership is absolutely key to helping Americans build personal wealth and to save for a secure retirement,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “Homeowners are also able to tap into home equity to help pay for emergencies, like unexpected medical bills or prolonged unemployment. Instead of making it more difficult for families to become homeowners, my bill makes permanent the deduction for mortgage insurance premiums, which will reduce the cost for hardworking families trying to achieve the American Dream of homeownership.”

Read the full text of the bill, here.

Mortgage Debt Tax Forgiveness Act

This bill would make permanent the existing income tax exclusion for mortgage debt forgiveness. In 2007, Congress enacted the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, which allowed taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Qualifying debt includes debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure. 

“Since 2007, Congress has extended this provision numerous times through the regular tax extenders bill, and the time has come to make the provision a permanent part of the tax code,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “Many homeowners have benefited from this tax provision since the last recession. Extending and making permanent the provision will help middle-class families stay in their homes, and provide stability and assurance for homeowners going forward.”

Read the full text of the bill, here.

Protecting Homeowners from Disaster Act

This bill will restore the tax deduction for uninsured property and casualty losses, which the harmful and misguided 2017 tax law, enacted by the previous administration, limited to only Presidentially-declared disasters. By severely limiting the deduction, the 2017 law created a striking inequity and harms thousands of American families every single year, who no longer qualify for the deduction.

Communities like Ventura County know all too well the devastation that wildfires, floods, mudslides, and other natural disasters can cause. However, under current law, incidents like the 2017 Thomas Fire, which devastated many Ventura County homes, must first get a Presidential declaration in order to qualify for this deduction. The Protecting Homeowners from Disaster Act would ensure those families get economic relief without requiring any particular President’s approval. 

“When someone’s home is destroyed by a fire, flood, tornado, or hurricane, the federal tax code should not discriminate based on whether the loss was part of a Presidentially-declared disaster,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “Property owners should be able to deduct uninsured losses, period. Instead of compounding a family’s tragedy, Congress should make sure our tax code treats Americans fairly by restoring the tax deduction for property and casualty losses. 

“No one knows this better than property owners in Ventura County, who have faced tremendous loss as wildfires have ravaged our region. My bill would ensure our tax code does not further victimize families who are struggling to recover and rebuild after a disaster.” 

Read the full text of the bill, here.


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