Courtney and Larson Announce New Support for Connecticut Homeowners Included in Build Back Better Act
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Reps. John B. Larson (CT-01) and Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced that two tax provisions were included in the Build Back Better Act to help homeowners defray costs of crumbling foundations repair or replacement. The House Ways and Means Committee, on which Larson sits, is advancing these portions of the legislation this week.
“I’ve worked together with Rep. Larson for years to help get support to homeowners impacted by crumbling foundations, and a lot of our success has been thanks to his determined work on the House Ways and Means Committee,” said Rep. Courtney. “Inclusion of our two tax provisions in the Ways and Means Committee’s portion of the Build Back Better plan is an important step towards making some of this new support a reality—our provisions would keep the clock from running out on homeowners who wish to receive federal tax assistance through the property casualty loss deduction, and it would create a brand new federal tax credit that funds repairs. There’s more work left to go until this support is made final, but Rep. Larson and the Ways and Means Committee’s advancement of the bill this week will be a big step forward.”
“Through no fault of their own, thousands of homeowners in Eastern and Central Connecticut have been plagued by crumbing foundations. These two tax provisions will help lessen the burden that many homeowners and communities are facing as we deal with the fallout from this crisis,” said Rep. Larson. “None of this would have been possible without Rep. Courtney’s steadfast leadership and work on this issue.”
The Build Back Better Act:
- Repeals the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s temporary limitation on personal casualty loss deductions so that homeowners whose residences were affected by deteriorating concrete foundations caused by presence of mineral pyrrhotite can deduct losses retroactive to 2018.
Larson and Courtney worked years ago to secure tax guidance from the IRS that allowed homeowners with crumbling foundations due to pyrrhotite to take a casualty loss on the costs of repair or replacement, even though casualty losses are typically reserved for sudden events. At the end of 2017, through Larson and Courtney’s work, the IRS published a “Revenue Procedure” from the IRS that provided homeowners with crumbling foundations due to pyrrhotite a safe harbor to benefit from this tax assistance. Unfortunately, within weeks of publication of the IRS’ Revenue Procedure in 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law and restricted casualty losses to only those that had received a Presidential Disaster Declaration. Larson and Courtney then worked with the IRS to ensure taxpayers with crumbling foundations could still receive a tax benefit even though the law had changed, so in early 2018, the IRS published a second Revenue Procedure that allowed homeowners to amend their 2017 tax return to claim the casualty loss deduction. Because the IRS only provides a 3-year window to amend a previous year’s return, the casualty loss deduction for crumbling foundations repairs expired on April 15, 2021. Many homeowners in Connecticut took advantage of this assistance before the April expiration date.
The Ways and Means Committee’s portion of the Build Back Better Act would make several important changes to ensure that taxpayers can still claim the casualty loss deduction for costs incurred to fix foundations impacted by pyrrhotite. The bill repeals the underlying restriction on casualty losses, allowing all casualty losses – even those without a Presidential Disaster Declaration – to be eligible for tax assistance. The bill also extends the statute of limitations for homeowners to claim a loss due to repair or replacement of crumbling foundations due to pyrrhotite to up to one year after the bill is enacted into law. Lastly, the Build Back Better Act would require the IRS to issue additional regulations allowing homeowners with crumbling foundations due to pyrrhotite to benefit from this tax assistance, ensuring that the IRS continues to honor the safe harbor provided in 2017 for pyrrhotite repairs. (Sec. 135402 of Subtitle F Infrastructure Financing and Community Development of Build Back Better Act)
- Creates a new federal tax credit, the Neighborhood Homes Investment Tax Credit, to encourage the rehabilitation of deteriorated homes in distressed neighborhoods.
Homes hurt by crumbling foundations would be eligible for this tax credit. Larson and Courtney worked to ensure that victims of the crumbling foundations crisis who met certain other criteria could benefit from the new tax credit, regardless of zip code. Victims of the crumbling foundations crisis could be eligible to receive up to $50,000 to rehabilitate the property. (Sec. 135511 of Subpart B of Subtitle F Infrastructure Financing and Community Development of BBB).