MID and Marijuana two Shockers at the NAR Convention
Friday, June 13th 2014 10:58 am

According to a blog written by Graham Wood, senior editor for Realtor Magazine, two issues with notable shock value that were mentioned at the recent National Association of Realtors (NAR) convention were as follows:

1. Tax reform could hurt the Mortgage interest tax deduction (MID)

The Mortgage interest deduction (MID), a deduction that allows homeowners who itemize their taxes to deduct mortgage interest attributable to primary residence and second-home debt totaling $1 million, and interest paid on home equity debt up to $100,000, could be in jeopardy as a result of the a tax reform proposal from Rep. David Camp (R-Mich.)

The proposal won't affect the MID directly, other than cutting the cap to $500,000, but it would change the way that the MID functions.

According to John Buckley, a former chief tax counsel of the House Ways & Means Committee, the tax reform package would increase the standard deduction for all taxpayers and repeal deductions for state and local taxes. This would make the standard deduction a more attractive alternative to itemizing deductions since itemizing includes local and state taxes paid. If fewer people itemize, the MID would be "wasted".

"Essentially, I think it is tantamount to removing these deductions, all in the context of a bill that pretends not to touch the mortgage interest deduction," Buckley said.

2. Tenants may legally use marijuana

As long as marijuana is legal for medical purposes, landlords may be forced to allow marijuana use by their tenants.

According to Glen D. Kimball, a partner at the law firm O'Conner Kimball LLP, "There's no constitutional right to smoke pot, but if you want to stop someone from smoking pot, you may need to reasonably accommodate medical marijuana."

Kimball goes on to say, "You can't rely on a 'no smoking' policy to cover pot, because 'no smoking' connotes tobacco and pot is not tobacco.

Legalization is spreading across the nation, with Colorado and Washington allowing recreational marijuana usage, but as long as marijuana is considered to be a controlled substance by the federal government, enforcement will remain an issue.

Kimball also suggests that landlords could face another question in the near future: Can tenants grow their own marijuana plants?