Let Turbo Tax 2014 guide you at tax time.
Many people debate the merits of having a mortgage tax deduction when they file their taxes.
It makes sense to work at lowering your taxable income and getting all of the credits and deductions that you are entitled to, and claiming mortgage interest may be at the top of the list for you. Some homeowners think so much of this deduction that they forgo paying off their mortgage in spite of having enough money to do so. The question becomes whether it makes more sense to keep the savings or eliminate the mortgage debt entirely.
Q: I have enough financial resources to pay my mortgage debt in full and still have money left for emergencies. The savings account pays a low interest rate, and I am concerned that paying off my mortgage and losing this deduction will adversely affect me at tax time. I feel that I budget wisely, and I am committed to putting as much money in my retirement account as possible. What would you recommend?
Singletary: I would advise you to pay off your mortgage, but with the following caveat.
Review the items on your return, and remember that a tax credit is different than a mortgage deduction. Tax credits lower your taxable income, and deductions eliminate percentages of your tax obligation. You may pay more in taxes if you do not have a mortgage, but this amount may be much lower that you would pay in annual interest on your home loan. Keeping a mortgage just for a possible tax break does not make sense in the long run.
The caution about eliminating your mortgage refers to using your savings in the current economic climate. You should consider things like your job security, your health, and your ability to find work if you lost your job before you take steps to pay off your mortgage. You cannot predict when you may need an emergency fund of available cash, and tying up your money into your home equity may force you to borrow against your home or sell it. If you can continue to save for retirement and sustain a proper emergency fund, then I would recommend taking the steps to pay off your mortgage.
The Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction Is Being Eliminated
The mortgage interest tax deduction is going to be ditched. The president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, David Stevens, said the MBA is not religiously wed to the deduction. He said this is as long as any change is part of a tax reform proposal that is comprehensive and not just a one-off change.
Almost 44 million taxpayers deducted around $72 billion in mortgage interest from taxes, ending in the year 2014. However, by 2019, that figure may go up as high as $96 billion. This means this will be the largest tax breaks that individuals have ever taken.
Homebuyers who are middle-class benefit the most, as around 43% of taxpayers had adjusted gross incomes between $100K to $200K. Another 40% made less than $100K.
In the past, the MBA appeared to oppose attempts to reduce the deduction or to eliminate it. The statements by the CEO shows they are departing previous opposition.