Housing Assistance Act of 2008
The President signed P.L. 110-289, Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008, on July 30, 2008. A few of the provisions may impact timberland owners.
Standard deduction increased by property taxes. Up to a $500 ($1,000 for married filing jointly) increase in the standard deduction for taxpayers paying taxes on real property applies for tax years starting in 2008. If taxes paid are less than this cap, the amount paid applies. The language doesn't restrict this treatment to property taxes paid on a primary residence. Thus, a timberland owner paying property tax on their residence less than this cap, or one living in rental property could apply the tax paid on the timberland to the $500 ($1,000) cap. If the tax is reflected in adjusted gross income, for example it was included on Schedule C or other business form, it can't be claimed as an addition to the standard deduction.
Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) Qualifications. Amendments to the rules used for a business to qualify as a REIT were made to account for fluctuations in values due to fluctuations in the value of foreign currency. The limit on the total value of assets account for by securities of subsidiaries was increased from 20 to 25 percent.