Important Facts About the New Laws on Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction

If you are one of the millions of Americans who own your own home, you should be thinking about how President Trump’s latest tax bill helps or dents your finances; particularly when it comes to the ever-popular mortgage interest deductions. This article should put you ahead of the subject.

First off, if you are a homeowner with no intentions of changing anything soon, your mortgage deductions are unaffected (with a couple of exceptions we deal with below).

The new laws apply only to those buying a home after 15th December 2017. If you fall into this category it boils down to understanding 3 key items:

  • There’s a cap of $750,000 (previously $1 million) on your total mortgage value (covering private and secondary homes in aggregate) that qualifies for interest deduction.
  • Discussing interest rate deduction on new home purchase goes hand-in-hand with the cap placed on Property Tax Deduction – now set at $10,000 (previously unlimited).
  • The Standard Deduction has been nearly doubled for all categories of tax filers in 2018 onward.

Logically, anyone who intends buying in expensive locations or/and locations with property taxes above $10,000 should stop to think about it:

  • High property prices of course generally call for higher mortgage financing, And it often happens that premium locations are also the ones with the highest real estate taxes – a double whammy effect if you will.
  • In situations like this, it seems that the traditional enthusiasm around interest rate deductions may become somewhat jaded. It gives a whole new meaning to the popular realtor’s mantra, “location, location, location!”

The one escape hatch is to simply forget about itemizing interest payment and property tax claims; go to the expanded Standard Deduction now provided. But then again, the apparently increased relief offered by this new provision should be viewed alongside the knowledge that individual personal exemptions have been removed – which brings family size into the equation. If you have a lot of dependents (e.g. children or elderly parents) you may find yourself after all is said and done unchanged – or worse still, going backward.

Here’s another curveball that throws the cat amongst the pigeons: irrespective of when you bought or intend to buy your home/ homes (i.e. before or after the December 2017 law, it’s all the same) interest on second mortgages and on mortgages attached to unrented vacation residences is no longer deductible. Period. Given this, and all the other considerations are drawn into the conversation (as outlined above), it is impossible to provide a quick “catch-all” solution on interest rate deductibility. We can say this, however:

  • It is likely there’ll be a homebuyer movement away from expensive property purchases for the foreseeable future, resulting in a growing tendency to relocate to tax-friendlier regions.
  • The upper-middle class homebuyers will need to analyze these new tax provisions with a fine toothcomb, and even consider renting out vacation homes for part of the year to bring interest rate deduction back into the equation.
  • Those buying at home prices under the $750,000 cap limit with under-$10,000 property tax limits should have a far easier passage.

Conclusion: It’s at times like this that astute tax advice paves the way forward and dispels doubt. As you can see there are numerous considerations, especially for larger families and those fortunate enough to own more than one home. Also, those on the cusp of relocating should be looking at all the variables as well as state taxes before making the move. Our team is geared to answer your questions on every aspect of real estate related deductions. Contacting us sooner than later may be the wisest decision you can make this year.

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