Thursday, February 18, 2016

Letter to the Newspaper Column

  This polite query came in today at from a reader of the weekly newspaper column. Nothing has been changed but their names -- I did leave the mis-spelling of my own name.

        Dear Ms. Link,
It has to do with the tax implications of a Condo currently titled in my mother’s name and Debby’s name in equal share.
My mother is currently paying the mortgage on this rental unit and the loan is in her name only. The property income, expenses and mortgage have been included in my mother’s tax return. She is 94 years old.
She no longer needs the tax deduction for income tax purposes.
The purchase price of the Condo was about $145,000. It has a current market value of about $115,000 and the outstanding loan is about $120,000.
The net income for the property is about zero.
Debby and I could use some losses for income taxes purposes if they would occur with the transfer.
1. Should my mother transfer her portion of the ownership to Debby and transfer the loan to us also?
2. How would this be treated for our tax purposes?
3. How would it affect Muriel’s taxes?
4. Or should we just leave things as they are until Muriel passes?
5. We live in the state of
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Debby Smith

It's signed Debby but I dunno. (see "Debby and I" line 11)
And who is Muriel? (first appearance, question #3)
And if Muriel is the husband's mother, how come he isn't  the co-owner? (see question #1)

Well, I just had to share this with someone, so you're it.  Sorry I can't seem to think of an appropriate illustration.


  1. I'm guessing that Muriel may be the writer's mother (see "until Muriel passes" in question 4)--but it's also possible that she's a completely new character. I'm also guessing that the writer was attempting to disguise a situation rather clumsily and got terribly mixed up with nouns and pronouns. Otherwise, I'm as nonplussed as you are.

    And, oh, yes: These folks don't live in the state of Florida. They live in the state of Confusion!

  2. I think one partner started writing this and the other took over without making appropriate changes. That's why the "I" hops around the way it does. The daughter-in-law calls her Muriel, the son uses "my mother." Perhaps it was originally advantageous to have the condo in the daughter-in-law's name as well for tax purposes? I'm just guessing. (Edith, you're the expert on that.)