Mortgage interest tax deduction: Rules and Updates in 2022 

People who own their homes are entitled to several tax breaks under the tax code. The main advantage is that the owners do not have to pay taxes on the imputed rental income generated by their own homes. They are not required to report the rental value of their homes as taxable income, even though it is a return on investment just as much as stock dividends or interest on a savings account.  

Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction allows homeowners to reduce their taxable income by deducting mortgage interest payments. This is an incredibly effective tool for facilitating homeownership. 

What is it? 

The IRS defines mortgage interest as interest paid on a loan secured by your primary or secondary residence. Although most homeowners are eligible for the mortgage interest deduction, only a tiny percentage use it. This is because you must itemize your deductions to qualify, but the standard deduction results in a more significant tax break for most people. 

If homeowners itemize their deductions, they can deduct both mortgage interest and property tax payments and certain other expenses from their federal income tax. In a well-functioning income tax, all income is taxable, and all costs associated with earning that income are deductible.  

Thus, Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction and property taxes should be available in a well-functioning income tax. However, because our current system does not tax the imputed rental income received by homeowners, the justification for providing a deduction for the costs of earning that income is unclear.       

The mortgage interest deduction has been around for over a century, but it has evolved. Various administrations have changed the rules for this benefit. 

What kinds of mortgage interest are tax-deductible? 

You may be able to deduct the following types of mortgage interest in addition to the interest portion of your mortgage payments.  

  • Fees for late mortgage payments that are not part of a specific service. 
  • Prepayment penalties apply if you pay off your mortgage early. 
  • The mortgage interest is paid before selling your home. 
  • Interest earned while taking part in an emergency homeowners loan program or the Hardest Hit Fund program. 
  • Prepaid interest, also known as mortgage points, is a type of interest that is paid as part of your closing costs. 
  • You can also deduct interest payments on a second mortgage, such as a home equity loan or line of credit if the debt was used to buy, build, or improve your primary or secondary residence.  

The mortgage interest tax deduction limit applies to both first and second mortgages cumulatively. 

While you may be able to deduct the interest paid on your original mortgage amount for cash-out refinances, you can only deduct the interest paid on the equity you cash out if the funds are used for home improvements. 

Mortgage interest on your second home. 

  • The mortgage interest paid on a second home, including a timeshare, is also deductible. Unless you rent it out, you don’t have to spend a certain amount of time there to qualify.
     
  • If you rent your second home, you must stay there at least 14 days per year, or 10% of the number of days the house is rented. If not, the IRS considers it a rental property, and the mortgage interest deduction is unavailable. 

Mortgage Interest and Property Tax 

If homeowners itemize their deductions, they can deduct both mortgage interest tax deduction and property tax payments, as well as certain other expenses, from their federal income tax. In a well-functioning income tax, all income is taxable, and all costs associated with earning that income are deductible.  

Thus, mortgage interest tax deduction and property taxes should be available in a well-functioning income tax. However, because our current system does not tax the imputed rental income received by homeowners, the justification for providing a deduction for the costs of earning that income is unclear. 

DEDUCTIONS AND EXCLUSIONS’ EFFECT 

The deductions and exclusions available to homeowners are more valuable to higher-income taxpayers than lower-income taxpayers. For example, deducting $2,000 in property taxes saves a taxpayer in the 37 percent top tax bracket $740.  

Furthermore, despite accounting for only about 26% of all tax units, those earning $100,000 or more received more than 90% of the tax benefits from the mortgage interest deduction. This disparity is primarily due to three factors: higher-income homeowners face higher marginal tax rates than lower-income homeowners pay more mortgage interest and property tax and are more likely to own a home.  

What Counts as Mortgage Interest? 

The IRS defines “mortgage interest” as interest earned on any loan secured by your primary or secondary residence. Other costs and fees can also be deducted in addition to mortgage interest. 

Here’s a quick rundown: 

  • If there is any interest in your home: The property, which can be a house, co-op, mobile home, boat, or recreational vehicle, must have sleeping, cooking, and eating facilities. 
  • Interest on a second home that is not rented out: If you do rent out the property for some time during the year, you must follow specific guidelines  

How to Take Advantage of the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction 

Step 1: In early 2022, keep an eye out for communications from your lender or servicer. You do not need to keep track of how much interest you pay; your lender or servicer will do so for you and send you Form 1098. This should arrive near the end of January or early February, and it should include mortgage insurance premiums and any prepaid interest. 

Step 2: Perform the required maths. It would help determine whether itemizing your deductions will result in a more significant sum than the standard deduction. 

Step 3: Give your Form 1098 to your tax preparer or fill out Schedule A on Form 1040 on your own. 

With these easy steps, you are all set to reap the benefits of Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction. However, the IRS rules governing the mortgage interest deduction can be pretty complicated. This guide will help you understand what interest qualifies for the removal and how you can benefit from being eligible as you prepare for tax season. 

Conclusion: 

Buying a home has never been more expensive, but if you can find one within your price range, there’s some good news after you move in: you may be able to use the mortgage interest deduction to reduce your tax bill.