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Current Year Tax Map
Publication 225
taxmap/pubs/p225-010.htm#en_us_publink1000217807

Cancellation of Debt(p15)

rule
This section explains the general rule for including canceled debt in income and the exceptions to the general rule. For more information on canceled debt, see Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions, and Abandonments.
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General Rule(p15)

rule
Generally, if your debt is canceled or forgiven, other than as a gift or bequest to you, you must include the canceled amount in gross income for tax purposes. Discharge of qualified farm indebtedness (defined below) is one of the exceptions to the general rule. It is excluded from taxable income (see Exclusions, later). Report the canceled amount on Schedule F, line 8b, if you incurred the debt in your farming business. If the debt is a nonbusiness debt, report the canceled amount as other income on Form 1040, line 21.
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Election to defer income from discharge of indebtedness.(p15)

rule
You can elect to defer income from a discharge of business indebtedness that occurred after 2008 and before 2011. Generally, if the election is made, the deferred income is included in gross income ratably over a 5 year period beginning in 2014 (for calendar year taxpayers) and the exclusions listed below do not apply. See IRC section 108(i) and Publication 4681 for details.
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Form 1099-C.(p15)

rule
If a federal agency, financial institution, credit union, finance company, or credit card company cancels or forgives your debt of $600 or more, you will receive a Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt. The amount of debt canceled is shown in box 2.
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Exceptions(p15)

rule
The following discussion covers some exceptions to the general rule for canceled debt. These exceptions apply before the exclusions discussed below.
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Price reduced after purchase.(p15)

rule
If your purchase of property was financed by the seller and the seller reduces the amount of the debt at a time when you are not insolvent and the reduction does not occur in a chapter 11 bankruptcy case, the amount of the debt reduction will be treated as a reduction in the purchase price of the property. Reduce your basis in the property by the amount of the reduction in the debt. The rules that apply to bankruptcy and insolvency are explained below under Exclusions.
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Deductible debt.(p15)

rule
You do not realize income from a canceled debt to the extent the payment of the debt would have been a deductible expense. This exception applies before the price reduction exception discussed above and the bankruptcy and insolvency exclusions discussed next.
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Example.(p15)

You get accounting services for your farm on credit. Later, you have trouble paying your farm debts, but you are not bankrupt or insolvent. Your accountant forgives part of the amount you owe for the accounting services. How you treat the canceled debt depends on your method of accounting.
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Exclusions(p15)

rule
Do not include canceled debt in income in the following situations.
  1. The cancellation takes place in a bankruptcy case under title 11 of the U.S. Code.
  2. The cancellation takes place when you are insolvent.
  3. The canceled debt is a qualified farm debt.
  4. The canceled debt is a qualified real property business debt (in the case of a taxpayer other than a C corporation). See Publication 334, Tax guide for Small Business, chapter 5.
  5. The canceled debt is qualified principal residence indebtedness which is discharged after 2006 and before 2013.
The exclusions do not apply in the following situations:
See Form 982, later, for information on how to claim an exclusion for a canceled debt.
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Debt.(p15)

rule
For this discussion, debt includes any debt for which you are liable or that attaches to property you hold.
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Bankruptcy and Insolvency(p15)

rule
You can exclude a canceled debt from income if you are bankrupt or to the extent you are insolvent.
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Bankruptcy.(p15)

rule
A bankruptcy case is a case under title 11 of the U.S. Code if you are under the jurisdiction of the court and the cancellation of the debt is granted by the court or is the result of a plan approved by the court.
Do not include debt canceled in a bankruptcy case in your income in the year it is canceled. Instead, you must use the amount canceled to reduce your tax attributes, explained below under Reduction of tax attributes.
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Insolvency.(p15)

rule
You are insolvent to the extent your liabilities are more than the fair market value of your assets immediately before the cancellation of debt.
You can exclude canceled debt from gross income up to the amount by which you are insolvent. If the canceled debt is more than this amount and the debt qualifies, you can apply the rules for qualified farm debt or qualified real property business debt to the difference. Otherwise, you include the difference in gross income. Use the amount excluded because of insolvency to reduce any tax attributes, as explained below under Reduction of tax attributes. You must reduce the tax attributes under the insolvency rules before applying the rules for qualified farm debt or for qualified real property business debt.
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Example.(p16)

You had a $15,000 debt that was not qualified principal residence debt canceled outside of bankruptcy. Immediately before the cancellation, your liabilities totaled $80,000 and your assets totaled $75,000. Since your liabilities were more than your assets, you were insolvent to the extent of $5,000 ($80,000 − $75,000). You can exclude this amount from income. The remaining canceled debt ($10,000) may be subject to the qualified farm debt or qualified real property business debt rules. If not, you must include it in income.
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Reduction of tax attributes.(p16)

rule
If you exclude canceled debt from income in a bankruptcy case or during insolvency, you must use the excluded debt to reduce certain tax attributes.
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Order of reduction.(p16)
You must use the excluded canceled debt to reduce the following tax attributes in the order listed unless you elect to reduce the basis of depreciable property first, as explained later.
  1. Net operating loss (NOL). Reduce any NOL for the tax year of the debt cancellation, and then any NOL carryover to that year. Reduce the NOL or NOL carryover one dollar for each dollar of excluded canceled debt.
  2. General business credit carryover. Reduce the credit carryover to or from the tax year of the debt cancellation. Reduce the carryover 331/3 cents for each dollar of excluded canceled debt.
  3. Minimum tax credit. Reduce the minimum tax credit available at the beginning of the tax year following the tax year of the debt cancellation. Reduce the credit 331/3 cents for each dollar of excluded canceled debt.
  4. Capital loss. Reduce any net capital loss for the tax year of the debt cancellation, and then any capital loss carryover to that year. Reduce the capital loss or loss carryover one dollar for each dollar of excluded canceled debt.
  5. Basis. Reduce the basis of the property you hold at the beginning of the tax year following the tax year of the debt cancellation in the following order.
    1. Real property (except inventory) used in your trade or business or held for investment that secured the canceled debt.
    2. Personal property (except inventory and accounts and notes receivable) used in your trade or business or held for investment that secured the canceled debt.
    3. Other property (except inventory and accounts and notes receivable) used in your trade or business or held for investment.
    4. Inventory and accounts and notes receivable.
    5. Other property.
    Reduce the basis one dollar for each dollar of excluded canceled debt. However, the reduction cannot be more than the total basis of property and the amount of money you hold immediately after the debt cancellation minus your total liabilities immediately after the cancellation.
    For allocation rules that apply to basis reductions for multiple canceled debts, see Regulations section 1.1017-1(b)(2). Also see Electing to reduce the basis of depreciable property first, later.
  6. Passive activity loss and credit carryovers. Reduce the passive activity loss and credit carryovers from the tax year of the debt cancellation. Reduce the loss carryover one dollar for each dollar of excluded canceled debt. Reduce the credit carryover 331/3 cents for each dollar of excluded canceled debt.
  7. Foreign tax credit. Reduce the credit carryover to or from the tax year of the debt cancellation. Reduce the carryover 331/3 cents for each dollar of excluded canceled debt.
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How to make tax attribute reductions.(p16)
Always make the required reductions in tax attributes after figuring your tax for the year of the debt cancellation. In making the reductions in (1) and (4) earlier, first reduce the loss for the tax year of the debt cancellation. Then reduce any loss carryovers to that year in the order of the tax years from which the carryovers arose, starting with the earliest year. In making the reductions in (2) and (7) earlier, reduce the credit carryovers to the tax year of the debt cancellation in the order in which they are taken into account for that year.
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Electing to reduce the basis of depreciable property first.(p16)

rule
You can elect to apply any portion of the excluded canceled debt first to reduce the basis of depreciable property you hold at the beginning of the tax year following the tax year of the debt cancellation, in the following order.
  1. Depreciable real property used in your trade or business or held for investment that secured the canceled debt.
  2. Depreciable personal property used in your trade or business or held for investment that secured the canceled debt.
  3. Other depreciable property used in your trade or business or held for investment.
  4. Real property held as inventory if you elect to treat it as depreciable property on Form 982.
The amount you apply cannot be more than the total adjusted basis of all the depreciable properties. Depreciable property for this purpose means any property subject to depreciation, but only if a reduction of basis will reduce the depreciation or amortization otherwise allowable for the period immediately following the basis reduction.
You make this reduction before reducing the other tax attributes listed earlier. If the excluded canceled debt is more than the depreciable basis you elect to reduce first, use the difference to reduce the other tax attributes. In figuring the limit on the basis reduction in (5) under Order of reduction., earlier, use the remaining adjusted basis of your properties after making this election.
See Form 982, later, for information on how to make this election. If you make this election, you can revoke it only with the consent of the IRS.
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Recapture of basis reductions.(p16)

rule
If you reduce the basis of property under these provisions (either the election to reduce basis first or the basis reduction without that election) and later sell or otherwise dispose of the property at a gain, the part of the gain due to this basis reduction is taxable as ordinary income under the depreciation recapture provisions. Treat any property that is not section 1245 or section 1250 property as section 1245 property. For section 1250 property, determine the straight-line depreciation adjustments as though there were no basis reduction for debt cancellation. Sections 1245 and 1250 property and the recapture of gain as ordinary income are explained in chapter 9.
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More information.(p16)

rule
For more information on debt cancellation in bankruptcy proceedings or during insolvency, see Publication 908.
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Qualified Principal Residence Debt(p16)

rule
You can exclude from income a canceled debt that is qualified principal residence debt. The amount excluded from income is applied to reduce (but not below zero) the basis of your principal residence.
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Qualified principal residence. (p16)

rule
This is your main home, which is the home where you ordinarily live most of the time. You can have only one main home at any one time.
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Qualified principal residence debt.(p16)

rule
This is acquisition debt that is incurred in acquiring, constructing, or substantially improving your qualified principal residence and is secured by that residence. This also includes any debt secured by the residence resulting from the refinancing of the acquisition debt but only to the extent the amount of the debt resulting from the refinancing does not exceed the amount of the refinanced debt. Qualified principal residence debt is limited to acquisition debt of $2 million ($1 million if you are married and filing a separate return) with respect to the principal residence of the taxpayer.
The exclusion from gross income for cancellation of qualified principal residence debt does not apply if the canceled debt is on account of services performed for the lender or any other factor not directly related to a decline in the value of the residence or to your financial condition.
If any loan is canceled, in whole or in part, and only a portion of the loan is qualified principal residence debt, the exclusion from gross income for cancellation of qualified principal residence debt will apply only to the amount of the loan (as determined immediately before the canceled debt) that is qualified principal residence debt.
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Qualified Farm Debt(p17)

rule
You can exclude from income a canceled debt that is qualified farm debt owed to a qualified person. This exclusion applies only if you were solvent when the debt was canceled or, if you were insolvent, only to the extent the canceled debt is more than the amount by which you were insolvent. This exclusion does not apply to a canceled debt excluded from income because it relates to your principal residence or it takes place in a bankruptcy case.
Your debt is qualified farm debt if both the following requirements are met. For more information, see Publication 4681.
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Qualified person.(p17)

rule
This is a person who is actively and regularly engaged in the business of lending money. A qualified person includes any federal, state, or local government, or any of their agencies or subdivisions. The USDA is a qualified person. A qualified person does not include any of the following.
For the definition of a related person, see Related persons under At-Risk Amounts in Publication 925.
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Exclusion limit.(p17)

rule
The amount of canceled qualified farm debt you can exclude from income is limited. It cannot be more than the sum of your adjusted tax attributes and the total adjusted basis of the qualified property you hold at the beginning of the tax year following the tax year of the debt cancellation. Figure this limit after taking into account any reduction of tax attributes because of the exclusion of canceled debt from gross income during insolvency.
If the canceled debt is more than this limit, you must include the difference in gross income.
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Adjusted tax attributes.(p17)
Adjusted tax attributes means the sum of the following items.
  1. Any net operating loss (NOL) for the tax year of the debt cancellation and any NOL carryover to that year.
  2. Any general business credit carryover to or from the year of the debt cancellation, multiplied by 3.
  3. Any minimum tax credit available at the beginning of the tax year following the tax year of the debt cancellation, multiplied by 3.
  4. Any net capital loss for the tax year of the debt cancellation and any capital loss carryover to that year.
  5. Any passive activity loss and credit carryovers from the tax year of the debt cancellation. Any credit carryover is multiplied by 3.
  6. Any foreign tax credit carryovers to or from the tax year of the debt cancellation, multiplied by 3.
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Qualified property.(p17)
This is any property you use or hold for use in your trade or business or for the production of income.
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Reduction of tax attributes. (p17)

rule
If you exclude canceled debt from income under the qualified farm debt rules, you must use the excluded debt to reduce tax attributes. (If you also excluded canceled debt under the insolvency rules, you reduce the amount of the tax attributes remaining after reduction for the exclusion allowed under the insolvency rules.) You generally must follow the reduction rules previously explained under Bankruptcy and Insolvency. However, do not follow the rules in (5) under Order of reduction., earlier. Instead, follow the special rules explained next.
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Special rules for reducing the basis of property.(p17)
You must use special rules to reduce the basis of property for excluded canceled qualified farm debt. Under these special rules, you only reduce the basis of qualified property (defined earlier). Reduce it in the following order.
  1. Depreciable qualified property. You may elect on Form 982 to treat real property held as inventory as depreciable property.
  2. Land that is qualified property and is used or held for use in your farming business.
  3. Other qualified property.
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Form 982(p17)

rule
Use Form 982 to show the amounts of canceled debt excluded from income and the reduction of tax attributes in the order listed on the form. Also use it if you are electing to apply the excluded canceled debt to reduce the basis of depreciable property before reducing tax attributes. You make this election by showing the amount you elect to apply on line 5 of the form.
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When to file.(p17)

rule
You must file Form 982 with your timely filed income tax return (including extensions) for the tax year in which the cancellation of debt occurred. If you timely filed your return for the year without electing to apply the excluded canceled debt to reduce the basis of depreciable property first, you can still make the election by filing an amended return within 6 months of the due date of the return (excluding extensions). For more information, see When To File in the Form 982 instructions.