You can use Figure 23-A to check whether your home mortgage interest is fully deductible.
You cannot fully deduct interest on a mortgage that does not fit into any of the three categories listed above. If this applies to you, see Part II of Publication 936 to figure the amount of interest you can deduct.
This section describes certain items that can be included as home mortgage interest and others that cannot. It also describes certain special situations that may affect your deduction.
You can deduct as home mortgage interest a late payment charge if it was not for a specific service performed in connection with your mortgage loan.
If you pay off your home mortgage early, you may have to pay a penalty. You can deduct that penalty as home mortgage interest provided the penalty is not for a specific service performed or cost incurred in connection with your mortgage loan.
If you sell your home, you can deduct your home mortgage interest (subject to any limits that apply) paid up to, but not including, the date of sale.
John and Peggy Harris sold their home on May 7. Through April 30, they made home mortgage interest payments of $1,220. The settlement sheet for the sale of the home showed $50 interest for the 6-day period in May up to, but not including, the date of sale. Their mortgage interest deduction is $1,270 ($1,220 + $50).
If you pay interest in advance for a period that goes beyond the end of the tax year, you must spread this interest over the tax years to which it applies. You can deduct in each year only the interest that qualifies as home mortgage interest for that year. However, there is an exception that applies to points, discussed later.
You may be able to claim a mortgage interest credit if you were issued a mortgage credit certificate (MCC) by a state or local government. Figure the credit on Form 8396, Mortgage Interest Credit. If you take this credit, you must reduce your mortgage interest deduction by the amount of the credit.
If you are a minister or a member of the uniformed services and receive a housing allowance that is not taxable, you can still deduct your home mortgage interest.
If you qualify for mortgage assistance payments for lower-income families under section 235 of the National Housing Act, part or all of the interest on your mortgage may be paid for you. You cannot deduct the interest that is paid for you.
Do not include these mortgage assistance payments in your income. Also, do not use these payments to reduce other deductions, such as real estate taxes.
If you make annual or periodic rental payments on a redeemable ground rent, you can deduct them as mortgage interest.
Payments made to end the lease and to buy the lessor's entire interest in the land are not deductible as mortgage interest. For more information, see Publication 936.
Payments on a nonredeemable ground rent are not mortgage interest. You can deduct them as rent if they are a business expense or if they are for rental property.
A reverse mortgage is a loan where the lender pays you (in a lump sum, a monthly advance, a line of credit, or a combination of all three) while you continue to live in your home. With a reverse mortgage, you retain title to your home. Depending on the plan, your reverse mortgage becomes due with interest when you move, sell your home, reach the end of a pre-selected loan period, or die. Because reverse mortgages are considered loan advances and not income, the amount you receive is not taxable. Any interest (including original issue discount) accrued on a reverse mortgage is not deductible until the loan is paid in full. Your deduction may be limited because a reverse mortgage loan generally is subject to the limit on Home Equity Debt discussed in Publication 936.
If you live in a house before final settlement on the purchase, any payments you make for that period are rent and not interest. This is true even if the settlement papers call them interest. You cannot deduct these payments as home mortgage interest.
You cannot deduct the home mortgage interest on grandfathered debt or home equity debt if you used the proceeds of the mortgage to buy securities or certificates that produce tax-free income. "Grandfathered debt" and "home equity debt" are defined earlier under Amount Deductible.
If you receive a refund of interest in the same tax year you paid it, you must reduce your interest expense by the amount refunded to you. If you receive a refund of interest you deducted in an earlier year, you generally must include the refund in income in the year you receive it. However, you need to include it only up to the amount of the deduction that reduced your tax in the earlier year. This is true whether the interest overcharge was refunded to you or was used to reduce the outstanding principal on your mortgage.
The term "points" is used to describe certain charges paid, or treated as paid, by a borrower to obtain a home mortgage. Points may also be called loan origination fees, maximum loan charges, loan discount, or discount points.
You can fully deduct points in the year paid if you meet all the following tests. (You can use Figure 23-B as a quick guide to see whether your points are fully deductible in the year paid.)
- Your loan is secured by your main home. (Your main home is the one you ordinarily live in most of the time.)
- Paying points is an established business practice in the area where the loan was made.
- The points paid were not more than the points generally charged in that area.
- You use the cash method of accounting. This means you report income in the year you receive it and deduct expenses in the year you pay them. (If you want more information about this method, see Accounting Methods in chapter 1.)
- The points were not paid in place of amounts that ordinarily are stated separately on the settlement statement, such as appraisal fees, inspection fees, title fees, attorney fees, and property taxes.
- The funds you provided at or before closing, plus any points the seller paid, were at least as much as the points charged. The funds you provided do not have to have been applied to the points. They can include a down payment, an escrow deposit, earnest money, and other funds you paid at or before closing for any purpose. You cannot have borrowed these funds from your lender or mortgage broker.
- You use your loan to buy or build your main home.
- The points were computed as a percentage of the principal amount of the mortgage.
- The amount is clearly shown on the settlement statement (such as the Settlement Statement, Form HUD-1) as points charged for the mortgage. The points may be shown as paid from either your funds or the seller's.
If you meet all of these tests, you can choose to either fully deduct the points in the year paid, or deduct them over the life of the loan.
You can also fully deduct in the year paid points paid on a loan to improve your main home, if tests (1) through (6) are met.
Second home. You cannot fully deduct in the year paid points you pay on loans secured by your second home. You can deduct these points only over the life of the loan.
Generally, points you pay to refinance a mortgage are not deductible in full in the year you pay them. This is true even if the new mortgage is secured by your main home.
However, if you use part of the refinanced mortgage proceeds to improve your main home and you meet the first 6 tests listed under Deduction Allowed in Year Paid,
you can fully deduct the part of the points related to the improvement in the year you paid them with your own funds. You can deduct the rest of the points over the life of the loan.
In 1994, Bill Fields got a mortgage to buy a home. In 2008, Bill refinanced that mortgage with a 15-year $100,000 mortgage loan. The mortgage is secured by his home. To get the new loan, he had to pay three points ($3,000). Two points ($2,000) were for prepaid interest, and one point ($1,000) was charged for services, in place of amounts that ordinarily are stated separately on the settlement statement. Bill paid the points out of his private funds, rather than out of the proceeds of the new loan. The payment of points is an established practice in the area, and the points charged are not more than the amount generally charged there. Bill's first payment on the new loan was due July 1. He made six payments on the loan in 2008 and is a cash basis taxpayer.
Bill used the funds from the new mortgage to repay his existing mortgage. Although the new mortgage loan was for Bill's continued ownership of his main home, it was not for the purchase or improvement of that home. He cannot deduct all of the points in 2008. He can deduct two points ($2,000) ratably over the life of the loan. He deducts $67 [($2,000 ÷ 180 months) × 6 payments] of the points in 2008. The other point ($1,000) was a fee for services and is not deductible.taxmap/pub17/p17-123.htm#en_us_publink100034038
The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that Bill used $25,000 of the loan proceeds to improve his home and $75,000 to repay his existing mortgage. Bill deducts 25% ($25,000 ÷ $100,000) of the points ($2,000) in 2008. His deduction is $500 ($2,000 × 25%).
Bill also deducts the ratable part of the remaining $1,500 ($2,000 − $500) that must be spread over the life of the loan. This is $50 [($1,500 ÷ 180 months) × 6 payments] in 2008. The total amount Bill deducts in 2008 is $550 ($500 + $50).taxmap/pub17/p17-123.htm#en_us_publink100034040
This section describes certain special situations that may affect your deduction of points.taxmap/pub17/p17-123.htm#en_us_publink100034041
If you do not qualify to either deduct the points in the year paid or deduct them ratably over the life of the loan, or if you choose not to use either of these methods, the points reduce the issue price of the loan. This reduction results in original issue discount, which is discussed in chapter 4 of Publication 535.taxmap/pub17/p17-123.htm#en_us_publink100034042
Amounts charged by the lender for specific services connected to the loan are not interest. Examples of these charges are:
- Appraisal fees,
- Notary fees, and
- Preparation costs for the mortgage note or deed of trust.
You cannot deduct these amounts as points either in the year paid or over the life of the mortgage.
The term "points" includes loan placement fees that the seller pays to the lender to arrange financing for the buyer.taxmap/pub17/p17-123.htm#en_us_publink100034044
The seller cannot deduct these fees as interest. But they are a selling expense that reduces the amount realized by the seller. See chapter 15
for information on selling your home.
The buyer reduces the basis of the home by the amount of the seller-paid points and treats the points as if he or she had paid them. If all the tests under Deduction Allowed in Year Paid,
earlier, are met, the buyer can deduct the points in the year paid. If any of those tests are not met, the buyer deducts the points over the life of the loan.
If you meet all the tests in Deduction Allowed in Year Paid,
earlier, except that the funds you provided were less than the points charged to you (test (6)), you can deduct the points in the year paid, up to the amount of funds you provided. In addition, you can deduct any points paid by the seller.
When you took out a $100,000 mortgage loan to buy your home in December, you were charged one point ($1,000). You meet all the tests for deducting points in the year paid, except the only funds you provided were a $750 down payment. Of the $1,000 charged for points, you can deduct $750 in the year paid. You spread the remaining $250 over the life of the mortgage.taxmap/pub17/p17-123.htm#en_us_publink100034048
The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that the person who sold you your home also paid one point ($1,000) to help you get your mortgage. In the year paid, you can deduct $1,750 ($750 of the amount you were charged plus the $1,000 paid by the seller). You spread the remaining $250 over the life of the mortgage. You must reduce the basis of your home by the $1,000 paid by the seller.taxmap/pub17/p17-123.htm#en_us_publink100034049
If you meet all the tests in Deduction Allowed in Year Paid,
earlier, except that the points paid were more than generally paid in your area (test (3)), you deduct in the year paid only the points that are generally charged. You must spread any additional points over the life of the mortgage.
If you spread your deduction for points over the life of the mortgage, you can deduct any remaining balance in the year the mortgage ends. However, if you refinance the mortgage with the same lender, you cannot deduct any remaining balance of spread points. Instead, deduct the remaining balance over the term of the new loan.
A mortgage may end early due to a prepayment, refinancing, foreclosure, or similar event. taxmap/pub17/p17-123.htm#en_us_publink100034051
Dan paid $3,000 in points in 1997 that he had to spread out over the 15-year life of the mortgage. He deducts $200 points per year. Through 2007, Dan has deducted $2,200 of the points.
Dan prepaid his mortgage in full in 2008. He can deduct the remaining $800 of points in 2008.taxmap/pub17/p17-123.htm#en_us_publink100034052
You cannot fully deduct points paid on a mortgage unless the mortgage fits into one of the categories listed earlier under Fully deductible interest. See Publication 936 for details. taxmap/pub17/p17-123.htm#en_us_publink100034053
You can treat amounts you paid during 2008 for qualified mortgage insurance as home mortgage interest. The insurance must be in connection with home acquisition debt and the insurance contract must have been issued after 2006. taxmap/pub17/p17-123.htm#en_us_publink100034054
Qualified mortgage insurance is mortgage insurance provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Federal Housing Administration, or the Rural Housing Service, and private mortgage insurance (as defined in section 2 of the Homeowners Protection Act of 1998 as in effect on December 20, 2006).
Mortgage insurance provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs is commonly known as a funding fee. If provided by the Rural Housing Service, it is commonly known as a guarantee fee. These fees can be deducted fully in 2008 if the mortgage insurance contract was issued in 2008. Contact the mortgage insurance issuer to determine the deductible amount if it is not reported in box 4 of Form 1098.taxmap/pub17/p17-123.htm#en_us_publink100034055
If you paid premiums for qualified mortgage insurance that are allocable to periods after the close of the tax year, such premiums are treated as paid in the period to which they are allocated. No deduction is allowed for the unamortized balance if the mortgage is satisfied before its term (except in the case of qualified mortgage insurance provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs or Rural Housing Service).
At the time this publication went to print, regulations were being considered that would allow you to allocate qualified mortgage insurance premiums paid in connection with a mortgage obtained after 2006 over the shorter of the stated term of the mortgage or 84 months, beginning with the month the insurance was obtained.
More information can be found in Publication 553, Highlights of 2008 Tax Changes which is available at www.irs.gov/formspubs
. Information on this and other changes affecting individual taxpayers can also be found at www.irs.gov/formspubs
. Click on Highlights of Recent Tax Changes
and then on Individuals
If your adjusted gross income on Form 1040, line 38, is more than $100,000 ($50,000 if your filing status is married filing separately), the amount of your mortgage insurance premiums that are otherwise deductible is reduced and may be eliminated. See Line 13 in the instructions for Schedule A (Form 1040) and complete the Qualified Mortgage Insurance Premiums Deduction Worksheet to figure the amount you can deduct. If your adjusted gross income is more than $109,000 ($54,500 if married filing separately), you cannot deduct your mortgage insurance premiums.taxmap/pub17/p17-123.htm#en_us_publink100034057
If you paid $600 or more of mortgage interest (including certain points and mortgage insurance premiums) during the year on any one mortgage, you generally will receive a Form 1098 or a similar statement from the mortgage holder. You will receive the statement if you pay interest to a person (including a financial institution or a cooperative housing corporation) in the course of that person's trade or business. A governmental unit is a person for purposes of furnishing the statement.
The statement for each year should be sent to you by January 31 of the following year. A copy of this form will also be sent to the IRS.
The statement will show the total interest you paid during the year, any mortgage insurance premiums you paid, and if you purchased a main home during the year, it also will show the deductible points paid during the year, including seller-paid points. However, it should not show any interest that was paid for you by a government agency.
As a general rule, Form 1098 will include only points that you can fully deduct in the year paid. However, certain points not included on Form 1098 also may be deductible, either in the year paid or over the life of the loan. See Points,
earlier, to determine whether you can deduct points not shown on Form 1098.
If you prepaid interest in 2008 that accrued in full by January 15, 2009, this prepaid interest may be included in box 1 of Form 1098. However, you cannot deduct the prepaid amount for January 2009 in 2008. (See Prepaid interest,
earlier.) You will have to figure the interest that accrued for 2009 and subtract it from the amount in box 1. You will include the interest for January 2009 with the other interest you pay for 2009. See How To Report,
If you received a refund of mortgage interest you overpaid in an earlier year, you generally will receive a Form 1098 showing the refund in box 3. See Refunds of interest,
The amount of mortgage insurance premiums you paid during 2008 may be shown in box 4 of Form 1098. See Mortgage Insurance Premiums,