Lawmakers Extend the Tax Extenders with the COVID-19 Relief Law

Ernie Neve, CPA

February 9, 2021

The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, enacted on December 27, 2020, deals with the annual tax extenders. Congress made some of them permanent, while others got short- or long-term extensions.

 

These are the big five Form 1040 tax breaks that were scheduled to expire on December 31, 2020:

 

Exclusion from income for cancellation of acquisition debt on your principal residence (up to $2 million)
Deduction for mortgage insurance premiums as residence interest
7.5 percent floor to deduct medical expenses (instead of 10 percent)
Above-the-line deduction for tuition and fees
Non-business energy property tax credit for energy-efficient improvements to your principal residence
 

Here is what Congress did with each of these five provisions:

 

Cancellation of debt. Extended through tax year 2025, but with a reduced maximum exclusion from $2 million to $750,000 for discharges of indebtedness after December 31, 2020.
Mortgage insurance premiums. Extended through tax year 2021 only.
7.5 percent floor for itemized medical deductions. This provision is now permanent!
Tuition and fees deduction. Eliminated, but the lifetime learning tax credit phase-out limit was increased to $80,000 (or $160,000 on a joint return) to increase access to this tax benefit.
Principal home energy tax credit. Extended through tax year 2021 only.

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