File your Taxes for Free!
  • Get your maximum refund*
  • 100% accurate calculations guaranteed*

TurboTax Federal Free Edition - File Taxes Online

Don't let filing your taxes get you down! We'll help make it as easy as possible. With e-file and direct deposit, there's no faster way to get your refund!

Approved TurboTax Affiliate Site. TurboTax and TurboTax Online, among others, are registered trademarks and/or service marks of Intuit Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other parties' trademarks or service marks are the property of the respective owners.


© 2012 - 2018 All rights reserved.

This is an Approved TurboTax Affiliate site. TurboTax and TurboTax Online, among other are registered trademarks and/or service marks of Intuit, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other parties' trademarks or service marks are the property of the respective owners.
When discussing "Free e-file", note that state e-file is an additional fee. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Prices are subject to change without notice. E-file and get your refund faster
*If you pay an IRS or state penalty or interest because of a TurboTax calculations error, we'll pay you the penalty and interest.
*Maximum Refund Guarantee - or Your Money Back: If you get a larger refund or smaller tax due from another tax preparation method, we'll refund the applicable TurboTax federal and/or state purchase price paid. TurboTax Federal Free Edition customers are entitled to payment of $14.99 and a refund of your state purchase price paid. Claims must be submitted within sixty (60) days of your TurboTax filing date and no later than 6/15/14. E-file, Audit Defense, Professional Review, Refund Transfer and technical support fees are excluded. This guarantee cannot be combined with the TurboTax Satisfaction (Easy) Guarantee. *We're so confident your return will be done right, we guarantee it. Accurate calculations guaranteed. If you pay an IRS or state penalty or interest because of a TurboTax calculations error, we'll pay you the penalty and interest.
https://turbotax.intuit.com/corp/guarantees.jsp

File A Tax Return

1040x Amended Tax Return Form1040ez TaxFile Amended Tax Return 2009File Taxes For 2011Free State Taxes Online FilingFreetaxusa 20121040ez Tax Forms2012 Tax Return1040ez RefundIrs And Form 1040Irs Tax Forms 2011Income Tax SoftwareH&r Block 1040xH&r Block 2011 Tax ReturnHow Do College Students File Taxes2012 Tax Return FilingMyfreetaxes Com TaxtimeAmended Tax Form 1040xWww Military ComAmend A Return2012 Free State Tax Filing1040 Ez 20101040 Ez TaxFile My 2010 Taxes FreeHr Block TaxFree Tax UsaIrs Ez Form 20112011 Ez 1040 FormAmendment FormsWww Hrblock ComH&rblock Free File1040x Amended Return FormFile Taxes Online For 2012Unemployment Tax FilingStates With No Retirement Income TaxIndividual Income Tax Return Resident 2012 N11Militaryonesource TaxesAmend 2011 Federal Return1040nr Software FreeAmending Tax

File A Tax Return

File a tax return Publication 536 - Additional Material Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications
Print - Click this link to Print this page

Principal Reduction Alternative Under the Home Affordable Modification Program

Background


To help distressed homeowners lower their monthly mortgage payments, the U.S. Departments of the Treasury and of Housing and Urban Development established the Home Affordable Modification ProgramSM (HAMPSM) for mortgage loans that are not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Under HAMP, a participating loan servicer must consider a sequence of modification steps for each eligible homeowner’s mortgage loan until the loan’s monthly payment is reduced to 31 percent of the homeowner’s verified monthly gross (pre-tax) income. Sometimes, a change in the mortgage loan’s interest rate is sufficient to reach the 31–percent target. Sometimes additional modification steps of term extension or forbearance are necessary as well. See the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) page on the MakingHomeAffordable.gov website.

(For mortgage loans that are owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, eligible homeowners may be offered modifications under related programs also called “HAMP.” Because these related programs do not contain the principal reduction provision that these FAQs address, these FAQs use the term “HAMP” to refer only to the program for mortgage loans that are not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.)

Since the last quarter of 2010, if a mortgage loan is being considered for a HAMP modification and if the ratio of the amount owed to the value of the home is greater than 115 percent, then the servicer must consider whether a Principal Reduction AlternativeSM (PRA) principal reduction should be effected as one part of the HAMP modification. See the Principal Reduction Alternative (PRA) page on the MakingHomeAffordable.gov website. 

For HAMP modifications that include a PRA principal reduction, the unpaid principal balance of the modified loan is divided into an interest-bearing principal amount and a non-interest-bearing PRA Forbearance Amount. If the homeowner then achieves a payment history that is sufficiently timely over a three-year period, the entire PRA Forbearance Amount is eventually reduced to zero. 

In connection with every HAMP modification of a loan that is not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, to encourage participation in HAMP, the government provides incentives to the investor (that is, the holder of the loan), to the homeowner, and to the servicer. If a HAMP modification of such a mortgage loan includes a PRA principal reduction, the government makes additional incentive payments over three years to the investor. (These additional incentives are called “PRA investor incentive payments.”) The size of the PRA investor incentive payments depends not only on the amount of principal reduced but also on the loan-to-value ratio and the loan’s payment history before the HAMP modification. The PRA investor incentive payments range from 6% to 21% of the principal amount reduced.

For information on tax issues related to the Principal Reduction Alternative, see the questions and answers below.
 


Questions and Answers on Tax Issues Related to the Principal Reduction Alternative


Q1: If the government makes a PRA investor incentive payment to the holder of the mortgage loan, how is that payment analyzed for federal income tax purposes?

A1: The PRA investor incentive payment to the holder is treated as a payment on the loan by the government on behalf of the homeowner. 

Q2: Does a homeowner have income as a result of the government's having paid some of the homeowner’s mortgage loan by making a PRA investor incentive payment to the holder of the loan?

A2: No. This payment by the government on behalf of the homeowner is excludible from the homeowner’s income under the general welfare exclusion. Excluding this amount from the homeowner’s gross income is consistent with the treatment of Pay-for-Performance Success Payments, which are addressed in Revenue Ruling 2009–19

Q3: In a HAMP modification that includes a PRA principal reduction, the holder of the loan reduces the PRA Forbearance Amount by more than the PRA investor incentive payments (which are treated as payments on the loan on behalf of the homeowner). What federal income tax consequences for the homeowner result from that additional reduction by the holder?

A3: To the extent that the reduction in the PRA Forbearance Amount is more than the PRA investor incentive payments, the reduction is from the discharge of indebtedness. The full amount of this discharge of indebtedness is reported to the IRS and the homeowner on Form 1099–C, Cancellation of Debt, regardless of whether the homeowner may exclude any, or all, of it from gross income. See Questions 4 and 5 below for discussion of some exclusions that may apply.

Q4: Does the exclusion for qualified principal residence indebtedness apply to amounts discharged under a PRA principal reduction?

A4: The exclusion for qualified principal residence indebtedness may apply to a discharge of indebtedness under a PRA principal reduction if the amount discharged meets the criteria for qualified principal residence indebtedness. Under current law, this exclusion does not apply to discharges that occur after Dec. 31, 2013. For further discussion of the qualified principal residence exclusion, see the questions and answers on the The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation page.
 

Q5: Does the insolvency exclusion apply to amounts discharged under a PRA principal reduction?

A5: The insolvency exclusion may apply to a discharge of indebtedness under a PRA principal reduction to the extent that the taxpayer is insolvent when the discharge occurs. For further discussion of the insolvency exclusion, see page 4 of Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions, and Abandonments (for Individuals).

 

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 06-Feb-2014

The File A Tax Return

File a tax return Publication 542 - Additional Material Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications