Tax Deductions for Mortgage PointsPublished:
Many homebuyers and homeowners take advantage of the federal tax deduction for mortgage points.
Mortgage points refer to certain charges that are paid to attain a home mortgage. Sometimes called “discount points”, they are a form of prepaid interest that must be deducted over the term of a mortgage.
Typically, each point is equal to 1% of the amount of the loan (in some cases a point is equal to 2% or 3% of the loan amount).
The IRS allows mortgage points to be deducted as home mortgage interest on Line 10 of Tax Form 1040 (Schedule A) in the year of actual payment.
In order to get a tax deduction for your mortgage points, all of the following nine conditions must be met:
1. Your loan is secured by your main home (i.e., the home you live in most of the time).
2. Paying points is an established business practice in the area where your loan was made.
3. The points paid did not exceed the points generally charged in that area.
4. You use the “cash method” of accounting ? meaning that you report your income in the year it’s received and deduct your expenses in the year they are paid. (This is the most popular method of calculating individual income tax liability.)
5. The points paid were not for items that are usually stated separately on the loan settlement statement (e.g., appraisal fees, attorney fees, inspection fees, title fees, or property taxes).
6. The funds you provided at/before closing cannot be borrowed from your lender or mortgage broker. The funds, plus any points paid by the seller, were also at least as much as the points charged, although you do not have to have applied the funds you paid to the points. The funds can include a down payment, escrow deposit, or funds for any purpose that you paid at/before closing.
7. You use the loan to build or buy your main home.
8. The points were computed as a percentage of the principal amount of the mortgage.
9. The amount paid for points is clearly shown on the settlement statement.
The points may be shown as paid from your funds or from the seller’s funds.
If you do not itemize deductions and your points do not meet the above conditions, you may spread out the tax deduction over the life of the loan.
If you meet the above conditions and you itemize your deductions (in the same year your loan was obtained), you have the choice of spreading out the tax deduction over the life of the loan or deducting the full amount of points in the year they are paid.
Additionally, if you spread out this tax deduction over the life of the loan, and your mortgage ends earlier than the original loan term (because of refinancing or prepayment), you may deduct the remaining balance in the year your mortgage ends.
If you meet conditions 1 through 6 above, you may deduct the full amount of points in the year they are paid if your loan (or refinanced mortgage proceeds) is used for home improvement.
In many cases, you may be able to take advantage of the tax deduction for points paid.
It’s a good idea to enlist a tax professional to help you determine if your mortgage points meet the deductibility criteria.