March 14, 2018

Senate Still Debating Dodd-Frank Overhaul Bill; Industry Hopeful Simultaneous Issue Will Be Addressed

James E. Hyland, Esq. | The Pennsylvania Group and TLTA Federal Legislative Counsel | March 13, 2018
The U.S. Senate is currently considering S. 2155, a bill to provide regulatory relief for community banks and credit unions as well as other improvements to Dodd-Frank. The bill has been though two filibuster attempts, but sixteen Democrats have crossed the aisle and supported bringing the bill to the Senate floor.

The title industry is hoping to add the TRID Improvement Act to the legislation. As we reported previously, on Feb. 27, 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by voice vote H.R. 5078. The voice vote demonstrates that this is not a controversial proposal. The bill would amend RESPA and direct that the disclosed charges for any title insurance premium shall be equal to the amount charged for each policy, subject to any discounts as required by either state regulation or the title company rate filings.
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Land Management: How to Get an "Ag-Exemption" and the Consequences of Losing It

Texas Bar Journal | December 2017
The Texas Bar Journal takes an in-depth look at the ins and outs of so-called "ag-exemptions" that, as it turns out, technically don't exist. Find out more about exemptions vs. assessed value, agricultural and open-space use, the qualification process, rollback taxes stemming from changes in use and more in this article from authors Jessica Haile and Randa Barton.
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Interest on Home Equity Loans Often Still Deductible Under New Law

Internal Revenue Service | Feb. 21, 2018
The Internal Revenue Service is advising taxpayers that in many cases they can continue to deduct interest paid on home equity loans.

Responding to many questions received from taxpayers and tax professionals, the IRS said that despite newly-enacted restrictions on home mortgages, taxpayers can often still deduct interest on a home equity loan, home equity line of credit (HELOC) or second mortgage, regardless of how the loan is labeled. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, enacted Dec. 22, suspends from 2018 until 2026 the deduction for interest paid on home equity loans and lines of credit, unless they are used to buy, build or substantially improve the taxpayer’s home that secures the loan.

Under the new law, for example, interest on a home equity loan used to build an addition to an existing home is typically deductible, while interest on the same loan used to pay personal living expenses, such as credit card debts, is not. As under prior law, the loan must be secured by the taxpayer’s main home or second home (known as a qualified residence), not exceed the cost of the home and meet other requirements.

TDI Annual Escrow Audit Report Tips

TLTA Compliance Update | March 8, 2018
As reported in a recent TLTA Compliance Update, most TDI Annual Escrow Audit Reports are due on March 31. To ensure your report is complete and received by the due date, be sure to include a cover letter from the agent (not the CPA) and send the complete packet to the applicable address shown below. Please note, physical copies of the annual escrow audit report must be mailed. The report can't be emailed. 
For standard mail, use:
Texas Department of Insurance
Title Examinations: Mail Code 103-2T
P.O. Box 149104
Austin, TX 78714-9104
If sending overnight, use:
Texas Department of Insurance
Title Examinations: Mail Code 103-2T
333 Guadalupe
Austin, TX 78701

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