Mortgage interest can be one of your biggest deductions at tax time. In most cases, your lender will provide your total mortgage interest payments and other information at the end of each year to you and the Internal Revenue Service on an IRS 1098 Form, Mortgage Interest Statement.
Generally, lenders must have the mortgage interest statement in the mail by Feb. 15, or by the following business day if Feb. 15 falls on a weekend or holiday.
The 1098 Form and Deductible Mortgage Interest
The Form 1098 must include certain information including the total amount of mortgage interest you paid during the calendar year. It also will report the deductible amount of any mortgage point payments applied to your loan during the year. If your lender paid any deductible property taxes for you, this amount also will be on the statement. All these items are deductible expenses. You can list them as deductions on your federal income tax form, Schedule A, to reduce your taxable income and therefore the total amount of taxes owed to the IRS.
If you gave the lender permission to send you a 1098 electronically, the same deadline applies. Your statement must be sent to you by email or posted on a website by Feb. 15 or the next business day if Feb. 15 falls on a weekend or holiday. If you gave permission to get the form electronically, but you still want a paper copy, you can ask the lender for a hard copy.
As well as sending you a copy of Form 1098, the lender must also send of copy to the IRS. the deadline here is slightly later – the lender must issue the IRS copy by Feb. 28, or April 1 if filing electronically. The lender may also ask for up to two 30-day extensions to file, although sufficient reason must be given for the second extension. Lenders are obligated to issue a copy of Form 1098 directly to the IRS for cross-referencing purposes. The IRS uses the copy to verify whether a borrower is telling the truth when they claim a certain amount of mortgage-related deductions in a given year.
Exceptions to Every Rule
In some cases, a lender does not have to provide you with a 1098. The most common reason is when you paid less than $600 on a single mortgage. Another exception applies if you are buying the home through owner financing. In this scenario, the seller does not have to issue a 1098 if selling and financing homes is not part of his regular job. Also, lenders do not have to report interest on loans for homes such as mobile homes or boats that are not permanently attached to real estate, even though you can deduct the interest if those places are your primary or secondary residence.
2018 Tax Law
The tax law going into effect for the doesn't eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, but it does cap it at interest on up to $750,000 in debt to buy a first or second home. Another deduction, for up to $100,000 in home equity debt, is essentially eliminated.
Home acquisition debt of up to $1 million acquired before Dec. 16, 2017 generally isn't affected by the new cap.
Married taxpayers filing separately generally get half of the deduction limits.
2017 Tax Law
Under 2017 tax law, taxpayers can deduct interest on up to $1 million in mortgage debt, plus up to $100,000 in home equity loans.
Married taxpayers filing separately get half of the deduction limits.
- IRS: 2019 General Instructions for Certain Information Returns
- IRS: 2019 Instructions for Form 1098
- About Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement | Internal Revenue Service
- Forbes: How The New Tax Law Will Impact Your Housing Costs
- MarketWatch: What the New Tax Law Will Do to Your Mortgage Interest Deduction
Alan Sembera began writing for local newspapers in Texas and Louisiana. His professional career includes stints as a computer tech, information editor and income tax preparer. Sembera now writes full time about business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Texas A&M University.