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The IRS has gotten involved. Usually that phrase sends shudders down the spines of any nearby listeners, in both business and home settings. Not this time though: last week the IRS issued a guidance that will allow a CMBS loan holder to negotiate a modification for a loan that is heading for trouble – before the loan actually defaults and without onerous tax penalties.Granted, it won’t solve the impending debt crisis – that is, the billion dollar plus tidal wave of debt that will need to be refinanced in the coming years. But like TALF, it is going to nibble away at the edges of the problem. Not all – but a good portion – of the loans that may default are still solid endeavors: the building fundamentals are strong – although probably not as good as when the loan was first underwritten. Problem is, the world has changed dramatically and even for still top performing buildings borrowers are having trouble refinancing at 60% LTVs. That is where this guidance will step in. Right now, every bit helps.

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