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Tax Break for Maintenance Fees? Bill for Condo Owners Introduced in Congress

Homeowners have mortgages, and renters have rent. What about co-op and condo residents? They have mortgages AND they have maintenance fees, and when maintenance fees climb high enough it feels like condo owners are paying a mortgage and rent at the same time. California U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo (D-18) is trying to ease that burden.

Easing the Tax Burden

Eshoo introduced a bill back in March that would make building fees, up to $5,000, tax deductible for people making under $115,000 a year ($150,000 joint). H.R. 4696, known at the HOME act—Helping our Middle Income Owners Actwas referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. This bill, which is fully supported by the Community Associations Institute (CAI), amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow individual taxpayers an income-based tax deduction, up to $5,000, for qualified homeowners association assessments paid during the taxable year. The bill defines "qualified homeowners association assessments" as regularly occurring, mandatory financial assessments: (1) that are paid by a taxpayer to a homeowners association for the taxpayer's principal residence, (2) that directly benefit such residence, and (3) that arise from the taxpayer's mandatory and automatic membership in such association. The bill requires homeowners associations to file an informational return that sets forth the name, address, and taxpayer identification number of a taxpayer from whom the association receives assessments and the amount of such assessments.

“What gave me the idea for the bill is that I live in a homeowner’s association,” says Eshoo. “What’s important to note is that the way I structured the bill that I would not benefit from it myself because my income is beyond what I have in the legislation. In Washington, D.C., my homeowner’s association fees are $200 less than my mortgage fees.”

The bill, according to Eshoo, is meant for middle income homeowners and the numbers are meant to strike a balance between cost and helping the people who need it most.

“I thought that it would be fair to give people a break on at least part of their fees,” says Eshoo.

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