There are many different 1099 forms that are used as "information returns" for the IRS. These forms report various income you may have received during the year. Here's why you may receive a Form 1099-A and what you need to do with it.

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What is a 1099-A form?

Form 1099-A, Acquisition or Abandonment of Secured Property, is an informational form used to report foreclosure on a property. You might receive this form if your mortgage lender canceled some or all of your mortgage, or if your property was sold in a short sale. If you had more than one mortgage on the foreclosed property, you can expect to receive a separate Form 1099-A from each lender.

Since canceled debt is considered income, you'll need to report this income to the IRS. In other words, if you borrowed money (mortgage from a lender) to purchase a home but at some point, you were no longer able to make payments, the IRS sees any money you didn't pay as income.

When should I file Form 1099-A?

Your mortgage lender will fill out and file Form 1099-A with the IRS. They'll also send a copy to all of the borrowers listed on that foreclosed loan. Each borrower must then report the information from the form on their personal tax returns.

The lender should send you a copy of Form 1099-A before January 31 of the year following the foreclosure. The lender must also send a copy of the form to the IRS before February 28 of that same year.

What do I do with the information reported on Form 1099-A?

Even though there wasn't a sale in the traditional sense, you'll still need to report the "sales price" of the property on Form 1040, Schedule D, which is used to report capital gains and losses. You'll also report this amount on Form 1040, Line 7. For the sales price, you'll either use the outstanding loan balance or the fair market value. Use the fair market value if you're not liable for the remaining debt. The fair market value can be found in box 4 of Form 1099-A.

You'll want to look at box 5 of your Form 1099-A to see if you can be held personally liable for repayment. If the "yes" is checked in that box, then the lender can legally pursue you to collect any outstanding balance they weren't able to recover by selling the property. In this case, you'll enter the outstanding loan balance as your "sales price." The outstanding loan balance can be found in box 2 of your Form 1099-A.

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What is Form 1099-C?

For a foreclosed property, you might receive both a Form 1099-A and a Form 1099-C.

A lender would send you a 1099-C if they canceled any remaining mortgage debt after the foreclosure.

  • For instance, if you borrowed $100,000 and defaulted on your mortgage after repaying only $80,000, there would be a remaining balance of $20,000.
  • If your lender determined you were unable to repay that remainder, they would cancel that debt amount.
  • In this case, the $20,000 in canceled debt would be reported on a Form 1099-C as it is considered income.

The amount reported on the 1099-C is usually income that will be taxed. However, if you were insolvent when the debt was canceled, then some or all of the debt may not be taxable. Insolvency happens when your total debts are more than the fair market value of your total assets.

You may also receive a Form 1099-C if you settled a debt with a different lender, such as a credit card company. If the lender forgave any amount of the loan, that amount might be taxable income.

What does Form 1099-A mean for my taxes?

Other than reporting your foreclosure sales price on Form 1040, Schedule D, receiving a Form 1099-A could mean that you have a capital gain that will be taxed. However, this isn't likely. The IRS generally doesn't require taxpayers to report a capital gain on a foreclosed property as long as they meet these two requirements:

  • You lived in the home and used it as your primary residence for at least two of the previous five years.
  • From the foreclosure, you gained or profited less than $250,000 if filing single or less than $500,000 if filing jointly.

To calculate your capital gain, subtract the sales price from the purchase price.

The 1099-A form is just one of many 1099 forms you may receive in the mail. After reporting the information from your 1099-A, you should keep the copy for your records. If you feel the information on your form is inaccurate, you'll need to contact the lender to get it corrected.

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