About That Mortgage Interest Deduction

Approaching the Finish Line in 2022

If you’re a mortgage borrower, you pay interest on your loan every month. As the end of the calendar year approaches, you’ve probably paid quite a lot of interest on your loan. The silver lining is your ability to add it all up for your mortgage interest deduction.

The deduction means you can cut your taxable income by the total mortgage interest amount you paid this year.

How Does a Taxpayer Calculate the Mortgage Interest?

If you paid at least $600 in mortgage interest in 2022, the mortgage company should mail out your annual report using Form 1098: Mortgage Interest Statement by January 31 of next year at the latest. Keep Form 1098, so you can submit it with your 2022 tax return. The IRS will get a copy of it, too. (Check your account page on your mortgage servicer’s website to know what you’ve paid so far.)

In early 2023, you’ll have Form 1098so you can review what you paid in mortgage interest, what you received in refunds (which you’ll subtract from your deductible interest), and what you paid in points.

So far, so good. Your mortgage interest is deductible, and it will already be calculated for you by your mortgage servicer in time for tax season.

You’ll write down your mortgage interest on Schedule A of Form 1040. Factor in all your potential deductions, including your mortgage interest and the deductions you may claim apart from your mortgage interest. Add it all up. Subtract any refund of interest for the 2022 tax year on Form 1040, Schedule 1. As long as the standard deduction is smaller than your itemized deductions, itemizing maximizes your tax breaks.

What if you are a co-borrower on the mortgage? If you are one of multiple borrowers on the mortgage who may claim tax deductions for the interest paid during the year, you may only claim a deduction for your own portion. Be sure all borrowers have a copy of Form 1098. Be sure all borrowers also know the portion of the tax deduction they can claim.

What Else Is Deductible?

Also deductible are late payment charges or penalties for prepayment (if your mortgage doesn’t freely accept early payments).

Did you know? In some states, an early mortgage payoff makes a home eligible for a higher homestead exemption. And that shields more home equity from potential creditors. Learn more at The Golden Years, With a Paid-Off Mortgage.

If you have taken out a home equity loan (HEL), the interest on that one is also deductible. The rule for deductible interest? It’s interest on a loan you took out to make a real estate purchase or substantial upgrades, secured by your main residence or vacation home. (Common fixes, cleaning, and painting jobs are not considered substantial if done apart from a major improvement.)

Also deductible on your Form 1040 tax return are your mortgage insurance premiums. This includes any PMI charges for a home loan taken out after 2006 (as long as your adjusted gross income doesn’t rise above a set ceiling).

Points (“discount points”) are charges to the borrower to offset interest, and the borrower can deduct them, whether they were bought by the borrower or the home seller. Usually, the deductions for points are spread out over the term of the loan. For the original mortgage on your primary home, you could opt to deduct the points charged for the mortgage in the year you paid them, rather than ration them over the life of the loan. Doing this would have to follow case-specific rules. Ask your tax pro how this works, if you need guidance.

Second Home, or Rental Residence? Know the Difference.

Interest paid for a mortgage on a second home is deductible. That’s a vacation home. As a general rule it should be at least 50 miles from your main home. You don’t have to stay there during the year for the interest to be deductible. But it cannot be an investment property. (Investment property means real estate intended mainly to bring in income, or that is professionally managed, or a timeshare.)

If someone else stays there, you as the owner have to stay there for more time. There are state as well as federal rules about this timing. So you’ll want to study them if you hope to keep your second home from being classified as an investment home.

If you obtain a mortgage credit certificate when you buy your home, you can claim back up to 20% of your interest as a tax credit, yearly, in place of deducting that amount. Read more about qualified mortgage credit certificates for home buyers.

If You Bought the Home Through Seller Financing, Then What?

Is your loan from the seller? Did you pay at least $600 in interest on the mortgage? You can claim the full amount as a deduction on your tax return. To avoid painful fines, be sure to do the deductions the way the IRS wants them done. Identify your seller-financer on your tax return. Include the person’s name and address and tax ID.

At the same time, your seller must report their income as including the amount of interest they received from you through the year.

The seller is also obliged to send the borrower a Form 1098. This is available on IRS.gov. In addition to the interest being reported, the form should show both parties’ tax ID numbers and state the date of the loan origination.

If Part of the Home Is an Office, Then What?

If you set up a dedicated work space in the home, you’ll want to know the percentage you’re using for business in terms of square feet. Keep track of the portion of expenses and income that correlate with your home-based business, so they can be apportioned correctly when you figure out your taxes.

Another Form will be involved to include with your 1040: Schedule C. It has the various deductions you can claim related to your business.

The space in your home used for business could be an actual office, or some other separate space, but (unless the business is child care) it cannot be used for anything else but your business. Additionally, qualifying business use means regular use. In other words, you have to use the designated work space in your home regularly and not just now and then.  

The home business tax deduction rules can get more complex, depending on specific situations. For this reason, many home-based entrepreneurs talk to their tax professionals for advice on how to maximize their advantages without falling afoul of the Internal Revenue Code or their state tax laws.

Every Little Bit Helps

Mortgages are getting more expensive this year. At least there’s the silver lining of the interest deduction at the year’s end. It’s one way the U.S. government incentivizes homeownership. And it’s a welcome break in this daunting economy.

Supporting References

Publication 936 – Home Mortgage Interest Deduction (2021; updated annually).

About Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home (Including Use by Daycare Providers) (reviewed or updated on Aug. 26, 2022).

About Publication 527, Residential Rental Property (Including Rental of Vacation Homes) (reviewed or updated on Oct. 3, 2022).

Tina Orem for NerdWallet.com: Mortgage Interest Deduction – What Qualifies in 2022 (Jan. 10, 2022).

And as linked.

Photo credits: RODNAE Productions and Nataliya Veitkevich, via Pexels.