There are several areas of real estate legislation that lawyers will be watching in 2016  including the impact of changes to the EB-5 visa program and to rules for real estate investment trust spinoffs. Modifications of the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act and a new law that could impose income tax liability on limited liability company members at the partnership level also create the potential for significant impacts on U.S. commercial real estate.

The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act imposes tax on foreign owners of real estate upon disposition, and lawmakers in Washington have for years been calling to reform the act to encourage additional foreign investment in U.S. real estate.

"That’s bound to help a lot of people access the U.S. markets through REIT structures," said Wayne R. Strasbaugh, a partner at Ballard Spahr.

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