Real estate investors will get $170B windfall from bailout package

Provision in $2T bill lifts restrictions on depreciation

Mar.March 26, 2020 03:48 PM
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images, iStock)
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images, iStock)

Tucked inside the federal government’s massive economic rescue package is a $170 billion windfall for real estate investors.

Washington’s $2 trillion bill is a provision that allows investors to write down the depreciation on properties beyond the previous limit of $500,000 a year, the New York Times reported. According to a draft congressional analysis, it’s the second-largest tax giveaway in the multitrillion-dollar proposal.

“It’s a pretty big deal,” Peter Buell, an accountant who heads up the real estate tax services practice for Marcum, told the Times.

Per the terms of President Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, investors could use depreciation to shield the first $500,000 of a married couple’s capital gains from investments each year.

The current rescue package lifts that restriction for three years, according to the Times. Senate Republicans inserted the language onto page 203 of the 880-page bill. The House of Representatives is expected to pass the bill Friday.

A spokesperson for the Real Estate Roundtable, however, said that some investors avoided the annual cap by spreading their losses out on paper over several years, downplaying the real impact of the new proposal.

Among those who stand to benefit are people close to Trump including his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who reportedly likely didn’t pay federal income taxes for several years due to depreciation of his properties. [NYT] — Rich Bockmann

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