The fiscal 2013 budget proposal President Barack Obama released this week includes proposals to trim the mortgage interest deduction (MID) and other itemized deductions for wealthier households. As in the previous three years, the proposal is expected to attract little support in Congress.

The proposed budget would reduce the value of itemized deductions to 28 percent for married couples with incomes over $250,000 and individuals with income over $200,000. Currently, depending on the tax bracket these households are in, the value of their deductions could be as high as 33 or 35 percent.

The proposal has never attracted sufficient support from either party, and National Association of REALTORS® President Moe Veissi in a statement yesterday said NAR would strongly oppose this or any proposal that would limit MID and other itemized deductions.

“The mortgage interest deduction is vital to the stability of the American housing market and economy,” Veissi said. “We urge the president and Congress to do no harm” to today’s fragile economic recovery. “The nation’s homeowners already pay 80 to 90 percent of U.S. federal income taxes. Raising taxes on them, now or in the future, could critically erode home values at all price levels.”

The budget request also includes a previously rejected proposal to tax the carried interest of general partners in investment partnerships, including real estate partnerships, as ordinary income rather than as capital gains, which is taxed at 15 percent. If taxed as ordinary income, it could be taxed at a higher rate, depending on the taxpayer’s tax bracket.

Analysts have said that this provision is mainly aimed at general partners of hedge funds, but general partners in real estate partnerships could get caught in it unintentionally. NAR in the past has opposed the tax change.

Overall, the budget request, which is just the opening step in a long process in which Congress will develop a budget for passage, envisions fiscal year 2013 spending of about $3.8 trillion. Of that amount, several hundred billion would be new spending for infrastructure, research and development, and other priorities of the administration. The budget envisions cutting about half a trillion dollars from the defense budget, and another roughly half a trillion dollars through tax law changes, including the NAR-opposed curbs to the value of MID for upper-income households. More savings would come from allowing tax cuts enacted during President George W. Bush’s administration to expire for all households, except those earning less than $250,000.

In all, the administration is saying it would cut the deficit by about $3 trillion over 10 years, plus another trillion dollars from legislation Congress passed in August of last year as part of the budget deal to raise the debt ceiling cap.

 

 

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