Passive loss deductions in real estate…Allow them! As a 20 year veteran of the commercial real estate industry, I really appreciated my CPA’s letter which he sent to the President…from which he of course received no response. His letter outlines one change which could cause a massive influx of capital into the real estate market, a stabilization of residential real estate values and an actual increase in federal income tax revenue. Copied below is his letter in full.
January 19, 2011
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
I have never been motivated to spend time contacting my elected representatives, but we are in some perilous times. I am responding to your recent Wall Street Journal letter on reforming government rules and regulations. I have been a CPA for almost 30 years. In short, I strongly believe that small and medium sized businesses need help. As part of any economic plan, I believe that our economy would be helped by eliminating the passive loss rules, IRC Section 469. The following are my reasons:
We need to create jobs, build new industries (some of which will allow us energy independence) and support the real estate sector which will help with the mortgage crisis. I think some answers are in our poor tax policy that has been with us since 1986. In 1986, Congress enacted the passive loss rules, which in effect deferred deducting losses that were real to a time that a taxpayer had passive income or he/she disposed of the investment. This policy has retarded the ability of many entrepreneurs to raise money because investors have a tax disadvantage. Most new businesses incur losses in building the enterprise. Some fail altogether. An investor in these businesses has to wait until the business terminates to deduct his/her real loss. This tax fact has placed small businesses at a disadvantage when recruiting investors.
The passive loss rule defers real losses. There is no tax savings for the government other than the deferral of the tax benefit to the taxpayer. Elimination of the passive loss rules will be the best thing for our economy. New businesses will be able to raise capital without going to the stock market. Investors will choose the best businesses to invest money in. Investors will receive an immediate tax deduction for their real losses. The real estate market will be strengthened because investors will get a current deduction for their loss and investors will buy rental homes which will help keep current homeowner home prices higher.
There will be immediate benefits to the economy because these new businesses will create spending and jobs. Many of the unemployed would start new businesses if they could attract capital. The long term effects will be even more important. Some of these new businesses will grow into big businesses with new technologies. They will then go to the stock market to raise more capital. I call this a bottom up philosophy of investment because we will encourage small business creation.
Eliminating the passive loss rules will hurt no one. Banks don’t want to loan money to new businesses because of the risk. Most new businesses are too small for any public equity market. The government has to allow these losses sometime in the future, so it doesn’t cost the taxpayer a dime. We have other laws on the books (the at-risk rules) to stop abusive tax shelters.
The passive loss rules were enacted because the IRS believed that an investor cannot lose money on real estate. History has proved that the IRS was wrong. Also, the abusive tax shelters were not about investing money. Frequently no money was invested.
In summary, I believe the elimination of the passive loss rules is a substantial step in putting our economy back in order. Thank you for your consideration.
Certified Public Accountant
Ed Kaminski handles 100′s of real estate partnerships and has been a critical part of our business. Ed can be reached at
10375 Richmond, Suite 1150, Houston, TX 77042/ 713-783-7120 (phone) ; 713-783-7119 (fax)
If you need assistance with commercial Real estate, contact Eric Hughes at Centermark Commercial Real Estate, 713.461.4750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.