Your home is a valuable asset when you figure your federal income tax each year. You can deduct the mortgage interest and property taxes you pay on your home from your income, usually reducing your taxable income by thousands of dollars. You must file the long Form 1040 with a Schedule A to itemize your deductions and use information from a Form 1098 or other documents for the amounts.
Get Form 1098
Your mortgage lender is required to send you a Form 1098 showing how much interest you paid during the year, both basic interest on the loan and any points that were charged during the closing process. You'll get a 1098 for your first mortgage and separate ones for any home equity loans or lines of credit. The IRS also will get copies of Form 1098. Add the amounts from all your 1098s and enter the total on Line 10 of Schedule A.
Report Without 1098
You might not receive a 1098. For instance, lenders are required to send 1098s only if the interest was more than $600 in a year, so if you only paid a small amount of interest you might not receive the form. If you purchased an owner-financed home, the seller might not send a 1098. If you paid mortgage interest but did not receive a 1098, enter the amount on Line 11, listing the name and identification of the lender.
Report Mortgage Points
Report any points paid at your mortgage closing. These are fees a lender charges to secure your loan. A $100,000 loan, for instance, might have a charge of one point or $1,000 to be paid when you close your mortgage. Your lender usually will report on Box 4 of your 1098 the points that are deductible for that year. You usually can deduct them in the year you pay them, but sometimes they must be spread over the life of the loan. Refer to IRS Publication 936 for specifics on how to figure your deduction.
Figure Mortgage Insurance
You also can deduct mortgage insurance premiums reported on Box 4 of a 1098. Not all mortgage insurance premiums are deductible, but a Form 1098 Box 4 usually will include only those you can deduct for that tax year. Otherwise, refer to Publication 936 and complete a mortgage insurance worksheet; instructions for Line 13 of Schedule A in your IRS Form 1040 instructions will explain this.
Real Estate Taxes
Real estate taxes also are deductible but are not shown on an IRS Form 1098. Your lender, however, may give you its own version of Form 1098 including taxes paid. Your lender also will provide an end-of-year escrow statement if you are making monthly payments toward taxes, or you will get a statement from a local tax office saying how much you paid. You can use these to report real estate taxes if your lender did not include them in its 1098. If you do not get a 1098, on an owner-financed house, for instance, you'll have to use the local tax statement.
Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.