Daily Herald - Illinois

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Updated: 5 hours 24 min ago

Homeowners: Don't panic yet over Senate tax overhaul

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 1:15pm
WASHINGTON -- If you hoped that Senate Republicans would treat homeowners and buyers more kindly in their tax overhaul plans than their colleagues did in the House, you were an optimist. It didn't happen. In fact, the Senate tax bill released last week is harsher on residential real estate in some areas than the House version, with two notable exceptions: Senate tax writers retained the current $1 million ceiling on home mortgage amounts that are eligible for interest deductions. The House bill seeks to cut that in half to $500,000. But the Senate's seeming concession has limited value, given that only a small fraction of homeowners in the U.S. have mortgages of $500,000 to $1 million. Also, the Senate bill leaves intact mortgage-interest deductions on second homes; the House bill would eliminate them. Here's a quick look at some key punitive details in the Senate bill's fine print that haven't gotten much attention but could be important to you: -- (BEG ITAL)Home equity loans(END ITAL). Under current law, you can borrow up to $100,000 in "home equity indebtedness" and write off the interest on that amount. Home equity loans have become enormously popular in recent years -- especially in the form of lines of credit (HELOCs) -- as owners' equity holdings have soared to record levels. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, 227,000 new HELOCs worth $43.4 billion were originated around the country. HELOCs are hot. Among the traditional attractions of HELOCs and other forms of home equity loans has been their flexibility. You can use the money you pull from your equity for whatever you like. That would change drastically under the Senate Republicans' bill. It would erase the entire category known as "home equity indebtedness" from the tax code, pulling the rug out from under the booming HELOC market. Though the bill doesn't get into operational details, homeowners with existing first mortgages might still be able to borrow against their equity, but they could be restricted to using the money for improvements to their principal residence. -- (BEG ITAL)SALT(END ITAL). Deductions of state and local property taxes, sales taxes and income taxes -- the so-called SALT write-offs that are heavily used by homeowners -- take a heavy hit under the Senate bill. The House Republicans' bill would limit SALT deductions to $10,000 in property taxes. Currently there is no dollar limit, and income and sales taxes can be included. The Senate bill would kill the deduction outright. For owners in high-tax markets such as Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, California, New Jersey, New York, the New England states plus Illinois and Ohio, the Senate's total wipeout of the deduction could raise their federal tax bills starting next Jan 1. -- (BEG ITAL)Tax-free gains(END ITAL). The Senate bill would also make a major change in one of the most valuable current tax benefits for homeowners -- the ability to pocket capital gains on home sales free of federal taxation. Under the current tax code, home sellers filing jointly can "exclude" up to $500,000 of gains from a sale (up to $250,000 for single filers) tax-free, provided they have lived in and used the property as their principal residence for an aggregate two years out of the preceding five years. That's a big deal for many sellers, especially seniors who expect to depend on the cash raised from their sale to supplement their incomes during their retirement years.

Illinois educators report shortage of teachers, applicants

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 11:08am
School officials statewide are reporting that districts are having a hard time filling teaching positions

First wild alligator snapping turtle in state in years found

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 10:21am
Researchers are reporting the first sighting of a wild alligator snapping turtle in Illinois in 30 years

Lincoln museum to offer kids' activities on Black Friday

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 4:33pm
Officials at the Abraham Lincoln President Library and Museum say they're offering an alternative to Black Friday shopping

Springfield OKs bid to build police dog training facility

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 7:12am
Springfield officials plan to build a new police dog training facility for the city and surrounding central Illinois area

Hundreds attend funeral for Rockford police officer

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 4:31pm
Thousands of law enforcement officers, family and friends have attended the funeral for a Rockford police officer who died in the line of duty after a traffic stop.

Judge denies Quincy motion to dismiss most of Lovelace suit

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 11:05am
A federal judge has denied the city of Quincy's request to dismiss most of a lawsuit filed by a former Illinois prosecutor who was found not guilty in the 2006 death of his first wife

Effort underway to locate, preserve Illinois WWI memorials

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 8:47am
Efforts to restore the condition of outdoor World War I memorials and monuments in Illinois are underway

Man wrongly convicted of murder settles lawsuit with city

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 7:42am
A Washington state man wrongfully convicted in 2012 of the 1957 kidnapping and killing of a 7-year-old girl has settled his lawsuit against an Illinois city

Smashing Pumpkins' Corgan reboots Nat'l Wrestling Alliance

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 3:31am
Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan is set to reboot the National Wrestling Alliance

Illinois man pleads not guilty in sister-in-law's killing

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 8:41am
An Illinois man has pleaded not guilty to killing his sister-in-law, who went missing before her body was found in a shallow grave

Springfield medical school finds violation in herpes trial

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 3:59am
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine has determined that a scientist at the school violated internal and government rules in genital herpes vaccine research

Illinois commission that advocates for deaf fires director

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 3:50am
The longtime director of the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission board has been dismissed

Investigation ensues after Rockford officer, driver deaths

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 3:57pm
Authorities in northern Illinois are investigating the deaths of a police officer and a driver who were found dead after an apparent altercation during a traffic stop

Lawsuit on immigration law dropped, to be filed federally

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 2:20pm
Attorneys for a Mexican immigrant suing a northern Illinois sheriff's office over alleged violations of the state's new immigration law are withdrawing a county lawsuit and pursing it in federal court

5 charged with murder in 3 separate Rockford shootings

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 12:55pm
Authorities say they've charged five people with first-degree murder in three separate shootings in the Northern Illinois community of Rockford

Illinois man charged with murder in sister-in-law's death

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 12:22pm
An Illinois man has been charged with the death of his sister-in-law, who went missing and whose body was found in a shallow grave

Commission says ousted fire chief should get department job

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 9:48am
Commission says Davenport fire chief who'd been fired should be returned to high position with department

Illinois investigated starved 6-year-old boy's home in 2016

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 9:16am
Illinois child welfare officials say workers received a hotline call about a 6-year-old Jerseyville boy's home nearly two years before he was found starved to death

Illinois Bicentennial Celebration to honor 200 veterans

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 5:32am
Illinois will honor 200 veterans who've gone "above and beyond the call of duty" as part of the state's bicentennial celebration