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Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce

Addressing foreclosures in Dane County, WI through prevention, intervention and stabilization

Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce - Addressing foreclosures in Dane County, WI through prevention, intervention and stabilization

Tax break for 2014 debt forgiveness extended

As part of its end of the year budget deal, Congress extended an important tax break for homeowners who benefited from mortgage debt forgiveness in 2014. As The Washington Post reports, extending the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act through Dec. 31, 2014 will be a big relief for qualifying homeowners:

The federal tax code treats forgiven debt as ordinary income to the borrower, taxable at regular rates. But under an exception that took effect in 2007, qualified home mortgage debt that is canceled by a lender as part of a short sale, loan modification or foreclosure is treated as nontaxable. However, that exception expired at the end of 2013 and its renewal had been in doubt for all of 2014, leaving short-sellers such as Foster unsure whether they would be facing crushing taxes in 2015.

You can find additional information about the tax consequences of mortgage debt forgiveness on the Internal Revenue Service website.

Loan servicing issues and scams are still a concern

As the New York Times recently noted, there is a new surge in problems with home loan servicers that may affect Dane County homeowners:

A growing number of homeowners trying to avert foreclosure are confronting problems on a new front as the mortgage industry undergoes a seismic shift.

Shoddy paperwork, erroneous fees and wrongful evictions — the same abuses that dogged the nation’s largest banks and led to a $26 billion settlement with federal authorities in 2012 — are now cropping up among the specialty firms that collect mortgage payments, according to dozens of foreclosure lawsuits and interviews with borrowers, federal and state regulators and housing lawyers.

If you are a Dane County homeowner experiencing these sorts of problems with your loan servicing company, contact us and we will do our best to connect you with helpful resources.

Homeowners should also continue to be wary of any organizations that are offering mortgage “rescue” services to homeowners for a fee. Check with Loan Scam Alert. You can also contact the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council for help filing a complaint against a loan scam company.

When Paying the Mortgage is a Struggle

The possibility of losing your home because you can’t make the mortgage payments can be terrifying. Perhaps you’re having trouble making ends meet because you or a family member lost a job, or you’re having other financial problems. Or maybe you’re one of the many consumers who took out a mortgage that had a fixed rate for the first two or three years and then had an adjustable rate – and you want to know what your payments will be and whether you’ll be able to make them.

Regardless of the reason for your mortgage anxiety, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to know how to help save your home, and how to recognize and avoid foreclosure scams. Continue reading

$9.3 Billion in Payments and Foreclosure Assistance to Begin in April 2013

On March 18, 2013, more than 4.2 million people were sent postcard notices about payments they will receive as a result of an agreement between federal banking regulators and 13 mortgage servicers. As a result of this agreement, the Independent Foreclosure Review ceased at those servicers. A full list of companies and their affiliates or subsidiaries covered by the agreement are listed below.

The agreement provides $3.6 billion in cash payments to borrowers covered by the agreement. Borrowers covered by the agreement include those whose primary residences were in any stage of the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010 and whose mortgages were serviced by one of the participating servicers.

Payments are expected to range from a few hundred dollars to $125,000. By accepting the payment, borrowers do not waive any legal claims against their servicer and may pursue additional actions related to their foreclosure. Continue reading