Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Level Basic Advanced Military International

Cancellation of Debt (COD)

Cancellation of Debt—Principal Residence

Foreclosures and Capital Gain or Loss

If a taxpayer does not make payments owed on a loan secured by property, the lender may foreclose on the loan or repossess the property. The foreclosure or repossession is treated as a sale from which the taxpayer may realize gain or loss. This is true even if the taxpayer voluntarily returns the property to the lender.

Figure the gain or loss from a foreclosure or repossession the same way as the gain or loss from a sale. The gain is the difference between the amount realized and the adjusted basis of the transferred property (amount realized minus adjusted basis). The loss is the difference between the adjusted basis in the transferred property and the amount realized (adjusted basis minus amount realized).

When a residence that is security for a mortgage is abandoned or foreclosed upon, the gain or loss must be reported on the return and is subject to the rules for a Sale of Residence.

Generally, the amount realized on a foreclosure is considered to be the selling price. But this selling price depends, in part, on whether the debt was recourse debt or nonrecourse debt. In addition, the taxpayer may also have ordinary income from the cancellation of debt.

Use the Worksheet for Foreclosures and Repossessions in Publication 4681 to figure the ordinary income from the cancellation of debt and the gain or loss from a foreclosure or repossession.

Caition.

A loss on the sale or disposition of a personal residence is not deductible. A gain may qualify for the Section 121 exclusion ($250,000 or $500,000 for Married Filing Jointly taxpayers) for a gain on the sale of a personal residence.

Foreclosure worksheet from Publication 4681

Foreclosure worksheet from Publication 4681