As promised, I want to keep you informed about the actions we are taking on behalf of all Nevada REALTORS® at the state level.
Patent trolls – This is a little-known issue impacting REALTORS® across the United States and here in Nevada. You open your mail and find an official letter stating that (pick any major manufacturer of office machines that you may or may not be using, such as a Xerox copy machine, Fellows paper shredder, or an HP printer) suggests you are infringing on a patent and that in order to resolve the problem, without costly litigation, you owe $5,000. Welcome to the world of patent trolls. NVAR is monitoring the action being taken at the federal level, and there could be legislative action in Nevada in 2015.
Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act – We know the frustration that many agents are feeling as well as the public. NAR is working hard on the issue, but other larger issues are at play. First, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Dave Camp, a Republican from Michigan, has been unwilling to move on this issue this year. Instead, Congressman Camp is pursuing comprehensive tax reform, and any tax bill like this apparently undermines his efforts. So until he has exhausted all efforts of tax reform, our legislative experts have suggested they think it is unlikely that the issue will move forward in his committee. We’ve seen more movement on the Senate side. As of April 3, the Senate Finance Committee agreed to a bipartisan bill to reinstate close to 50 tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013, including the Mortgage
Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. If passed, it would extend the mortgage debt relief that has helped distressed homeowners in recent years for another two years, or until the end of 2015. This means that this issue may be moving forward, but is not yet near the finish line.
Margins Tax (Question 3 on November’s statewide election ballot) – This is one issue we at NVAR are really concentrating on and watching closely. This ballot question will come to the public for vote in the November general election. Our lobbyists at Carrara Nevada have prepared a terrific presentation on behalf on the NVAR that does a great job of explaining this initiative, and its potential impact on our industry, with specific examples of actual tax liability for brokers, agents and others. If you haven’t seen it, you need to do so. And if you need them to come to your office to explain this proposed tax, please contact me or Rocky Finseth, our NVAR government affairs director, and his team. If voters approve this tax increase, the Nevada Legislature cannot change it for three years.