IRS 1099-A 1099-C Confused Yet?
It’s tax season. Each year, at tax time, many taxpayers receive a 1099 A or a 1099 A and have no idea how to handle them. So, many just ignore the forms and go about filing (or not filing) their tax return. This is a BIG mistake!
Form 1099 C – Cancellation of Debt – is a form used by financial institutions to report cancelled debt to the IRS. “Cancelled Debt” is debt that has been cancelled or forgiven for less than the full amount.
Form 1099 A – Acquisition or Abandonment of Secured Property – is a form used by lenders if they acquire secured property in full or partial satisfaction of a debt, or they have reason to know that the property has been abandoned. Does that make it clear? Who must file? When do you “reasonably know” the property is abandoned? Trying to decipher these definitions is the subject of many Judges’ opinions.
As the borrower, you receive these forms and must respond. But how? Often, a lender will send a 1099 A and a 1099 C. What happens then? If there are multiple borrowers, each may receive a form for the full amount. Whom must report? A borrower may receive multiple forms, if there are multiple lenders to the same piece of property. All good questions – without straight forward answers.
First, Form 1099 A. Typically, a homeowner will receive a 1099 A from a lender(s) after a piece of property is foreclosed. For tax purposes, a foreclosure is treated as a sale. The borrower must calculate capital gains or losses. Since the property wasn’t sold, there isn’t a selling price. Instead, the borrower uses the information on 1099 A as the date of sale [Box 1] and the selling price of the property. The borrower may use the fair market value [Box 4], or the outstanding balance [Box 2]. How to report the foreclosure on your tax return depends on the nature of the property (primary residence?), the state the property is located, and the purchase price.
Next, Form 1099 C. If you receive a 1099 C for a foreclosed property, you should not (but may) receive a 1099 A. Because the 1099 C has the same information as 1099 A, and also includes the additional information that the debt has been cancelled. Cancelled debt may require the borrower to report the cancelled amount as income. That’s right – you couldn’t pay the debt, but the IRS may add the cancelled amount to your gross income and require you to pay income tax on that amount. Talk about kicking you when you’re down.
The good news is, sometimes there are exceptions and often the borrower may exclude the forgiven debt from income. For example, if the debt was discharged in Title 11 Bankruptcy, if the borrower was technically insolvent for an amount greater than the forgiven debt, or if the debt was forgiven on a qualified principal residence.
All this can get VERY complicated! If you receive one or more of these forms in any tax year, I suggest you find a good tax preparer. Do not ignore the forms AND do not prepare your own return. I help people get out of the trouble caused by those you take care to this matter themselves. Get help! Here’s an idea – Call Opem Tax Resolutions & The Law Office of Steven A. Leahy, PC (312) 664-6649. Call NOW to set up your FREE Consultation.