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What is Mortgage Interest Deduction?

Understanding the Mortgage Interest Deduction: Benefits and Limitations

The mortgage interest deduction is a valuable tax benefit that allows homeowners to deduct the interest they pay on their mortgage from their taxable income. This deduction is aimed at providing an incentive for homeownership and reducing the overall tax burden for individuals who have taken out a mortgage to finance their homes. In this article, we will explore the concept of the mortgage interest deduction, its benefits, and its limitations.

What is a Mortgage Interest Deduction?

The mortgage interest deduction is a common itemized deduction that homeowners can claim on their tax returns. It allows them to deduct the interest paid on any loan used to build, purchase, or make improvements to their primary residence. This deduction can also be applied to loans for second homes and vacation residences, albeit with certain limitations.

To claim the mortgage interest deduction, homeowners must itemize their deductions on their tax return. The amount of deductible mortgage interest is reported each year by the mortgage company on Form 1098, which provides a summary of the interest paid over the course of the year. By deducting the interest from their taxable income, homeowners effectively lower the amount of tax they owe.

Benefits of the Mortgage Interest Deduction

The mortgage interest deduction offers several benefits to homeowners:

  1. Reduced Tax Liability: By deducting the interest paid on their mortgage, homeowners can lower their taxable income, resulting in a reduced tax liability. This deduction can potentially save homeowners a significant amount of money on their annual tax bill.

  2. Incentive for Homeownership: The mortgage interest deduction serves as an incentive for individuals to become homeowners. It helps to offset the costs associated with homeownership and makes owning a home more financially attractive.

  3. Deductible for Second Homes: The deduction can also be applied to loans for second homes and vacation residences, providing tax benefits for individuals who own multiple properties.

Limitations of the Mortgage Interest Deduction

While the mortgage interest deduction can be a valuable tax benefit, there are certain limitations and considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Cap on Loan Amount: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 introduced a cap on the maximum mortgage principal eligible for the interest deduction. Previously set at $1 million, the cap was reduced to $750,000. This means that homeowners can now claim the mortgage interest deduction on the first $750,000 of their mortgage, rather than the first $1 million.

  2. Legacy Clauses: Some homeowners may benefit from legacy clauses that exempt them from the new rules. These clauses protect homeowners who entered into a mortgage agreement before the implementation of the new cap, allowing them to continue claiming the deduction based on the previous limit.

  3. Standard Deduction vs. Itemized Deductions: Since the standard deduction has increased significantly under recent tax reforms, many taxpayers may find it more beneficial to take the standard deduction rather than itemizing their deductions. This may result in fewer individuals claiming the mortgage interest deduction.

The mortgage interest deduction is a valuable tax benefit for homeowners, allowing them to deduct the interest paid on their mortgage from their taxable income. It serves as an incentive for homeownership and can help reduce the overall tax burden. However, it is essential to be aware of the limitations and considerations, such as the cap on loan amount and the potential impact of the standard deduction. Consulting with a tax professional can provide further guidance on maximizing the benefits of the mortgage interest deduction based on individual circumstances.


Mortgage Interest Deductions are allowable income tax deductions that equal the amount of mortgage payments in a year that are attributable to interest rather than principal repayments. Mortgage insurance premiums may also be deductible.

Interest deductions are subject to the Pease phaseout, while mortgage insurance premium deductions are not allowed over certain income levels. Interest payments on mortgages are generally deductible from income taxes.

Since 2013, however, the Pease phaseout, which limits the deductions allowable by higher income households, was reinstated after years of being recalled. For household adjusted gross incomes over $300,000 or $250,000 for single filers, a reduction of the deductions applied for is calculated based on two options, either of which might be more advantageous based on the amount of income earned.

Mortgage interest is not eligible for a deduction if the total amount of mortgage loans is over $1,000,000. There is a deduction available for private mortgage insurance (PMI) premiums, but it is not available if the household income is over about $110,000, or if the mortgage loan was taken out before 2007.

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