Tax Tip Tuesday: Changes in Deducting Home Mortgage Interest

February 20, 2018

 

This week we will take a look at one part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was passed in December. We are looking at changes in the rules for deducting qualified residential interest (interest on your home mortgage) under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the Act) beginning in 2018.

 

Under the pre-Act rules, you could deduct interest on up to a total of $1 million of mortgage debt used to acquire your principal residence and a second home, i.e., acquisition debt. For a married taxpayer filing separately, the limit was $500,000.

 

You could also deduct interest on home equity debt, i.e., other debt secured by the qualifying homes. Qualifying home equity debt was limited to the lesser of $100,000 ($50,000 for a married taxpayer filing separately), or the taxpayer's equity in the home or homes (the excess of the value of the home over the acquisition debt).

 

Under the Act, starting in 2018, the limit on qualifying acquisition debt is reduced to $750,000 ($375,000 for a married taxpayer filing separately).

 

However, for acquisition debt incurred before December  15, 2017, the higher pre-Act limit applies. The higher pre-Act limit also applies to debt arising from refinancing pre-December 15, 2017 acquisition debt to the extent the debt resulting from the refinancing does not exceed the original debt amount. This means you can refinance up to $1 million of pre-December 15, 2017 acquisition debt in the future and not be subject to the reduced limitation.

 

And, importantly, starting in 2018, there is no longer a deduction for interest on home equity debt. This applies regardless of when the home equity debt was incurred.

 

If you are considering incurring home equity debt in the future, you should take this factor into consideration. And if you currently have outstanding home equity debt, be prepared to lose the interest deduction for it, starting in 2018. (You will still be able to deduct it on your 2017 tax return, filed in 2018.)

 


Disclaimer: The items included in the Tax Tip Tuesday Video Blog are informational only and are not meant as tax advice. Consult with your tax advisor to determine how any item applies to your situation. IRS Circular 230 disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advise contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein

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