Millions of lower- and middle-income homeowners who don't itemize their taxes will lose a standard deduction of up to $1,000 under the new tax agreement, The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire political blog reports
. The federal deduction for local real-estate taxes was allowed to expire as part of the bipartisan deal that will extend Bush-era income tax breaks for nearly all wage-earners and roll back payroll taxes for Social Security.
One prominent Senate Democrat called the loss of the standard real-estate deduction unfair. “Homeowners who choose the standard deduction should not be ignored and see their taxes go up simply because they choose not to itemize,” said outgoing Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus of Montana.
Some Republicans defended eliminating the deduction, saying it encouraged state and local governments to raise property taxes, knowing that the federal government would subsidize them with the tax break.
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