Understanding the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction

If you itemize deductions, chances are that you are taking a deduction for home mortgage interest.

Here are a few things that you should know:

  • Home acquisition debt is defined as a mortgage used to buy, build or improve either your principal residence or a second home.  It must be secured by the home.
  • You can only deduct interest on the first $1,000,000 of home acquisition debt.
  • You can only deduct interest on the first $100,000 of home equity loans that are not used for improvements.

Example 1

The original mortgage used to purchase your primary home was $500,000.  When the mortgage balance is down to $200,000, you refinance for $400,000.  Assuming that none of the proceeds of the refinancing are used for improvements, your home acquisition debt is $200,000, your home equity debt is $100,000 and the $100,000 balance is personal debt.  In this example, only 75% of the interest paid on the $400,000 is deductible.

Example 2

You have paid off your original mortgage.  You take out a new mortgage for $500,000.  Assuming that none of the proceeds of the mortgage are used for improvements, none of the mortgage qualifies as home acquisition debt.  $100,000 will be home equity debt.  In this example, only 20% of the interest paid on the $500,000 is deductible.

Example 3

Your average home acquisition debt for the year for your primary residence is $800,000.  Your average home acquisition debt for your vacation home is $600,000. In this example, $1,000,000 is treated as home acquisition debt and $100,000 is treated as home equity debt.  Only 79% (1,100,000/1,400,000) of the interest paid would be deductible.

There are other more complicated rules that apply to home mortgage interest deductions.  As always, this is only meant as a brief overview.  If you feel that we can be of further assistance to you, please contact our office to set up an appointment.

Email us at: info@dohertyandassociates.com

Call us at: 302-239-3500

Visit our website: http://www.dohertyandassociates.com

- Doherty & Associates Team

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