Homeowners who participate in the Mortgage Credit Certificate program offered by state, county and city governments receive a dollar-for-dollar reduction of their tax liability equaling 20 to 30 percent of their mortgage interest for the entire life of the loan. The interest that isn't included in this credit can still qualify as normal itemized interest deductions. This program becomes especially helpful at retirement age, when reducing expenses is paramount. The IRS requests your mortgage credit certificate number on Form 8396 so it can verify your claim to the credit.
Locate your copy of the certificate, which is included in the documentation you acquired at closing. The certificate number is in the same section of the form with other information about the certificate, including the issuing agency's name and the issue date.
Contact your lender if you can't find your copy of the mortgage credit certificate. Lenders usually retain a copy because they have to file paperwork with the IRS pertaining to mortgages that used the certificates.
Call your state's housing department if your lender didn't retain a copy of the certificate on file. It's against government policy to give the certificate number or other information about the document over the phone, so you must request to have a replacement mailed to you. You'll need to provide your full name, Social Security number, date of birth and address to verify your identity, as well as pay the fee housing agencies charge to reissue mortgage credit certificates. As of December 2012, this can range from $50 to $75.
- Riverside County Economic Development Agency: Mortgage Credit Certificate Program Handbook
- Alameda County Government : Mortgage Credit Certificate Program
- Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs: Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate Program
- California Housing Finance Agency: Mortgage Credit Certificate Tax Credit Program