Home Mortgage Interest Deduction Guide – Who Can Claim Home Mortgage Interest Deduction?

As host of the Money Girl podcast, I get lots of email questions from listeners. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve received a steady stream of questions about claiming the Home Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction. If you’re not familiar with this deduction, it’s a big benefit for homeowners because it allows you to deduct…
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As host of the Money Girl podcast, I get lots of email questions from listeners. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve received a steady stream of questions about claiming the Home Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction.

If you’re not familiar with this deduction, it’s a big benefit for homeowners because it allows you to deduct the amount of mortgage interest you pay from your taxable income, which can substantially lower the amount of tax you have to pay.

(Here is a refresher on how tax deductions and tax credits work.)

What Is Required to Claim the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction?

There are two major hurdles you have to jump over to be eligible to claim the mortgage interest deduction:

  1. You must have secured debt on a qualified home in which you have an ownership interest.
  2. You must file your federal income taxes using Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A.

What Is a Secured Debt for the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction?

Let’s cover exactly what’s meant by “secured debt” first.

You’ll know you’re getting a secured loan when your hand starts cramping up in the middle of the closing. That’s because the paperwork you have to sign just keeps coming!

The lender is legally required to disclose all the grim details, like the fact that they’re going to take your house and sell it if you don’t pay up.

The note you sign is your promise to repay the debt and the mortgage is the agreement that secures your home sweet home to the debt.

Whatever the agreement is called in your neck of the woods—a mortgage, deed of trust, or land contract—it must also be recorded in the county courthouse or adhere to any other state or local laws to qualify as a secured debt.

This is what typically happens when you take out a mortgage from an institutional lender or through a mortgage broker.

However, you might not have a secured debt if you buy a home using owner financing that isn’t secured to the property.

What Is a Qualified Home for the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction?

Now let’s define what the IRS considers a qualified home when it comes to claiming the mortgage interest deduction.

It can be your main home and second home — but not your third or fourth pad if you’re so lucky.

Your main home and second home can be a single-family residence, condo, cooperative, mobile home, trailer, time-share arrangement, or even a boat, as long as they have sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities.

If you’re married and file a joint tax return, your qualified home(s) can be owned jointly or by one spouse only.

If you’re married and file separate returns, you can each claim the mortgage interest for one qualified home only—unless you consent in writing that one spouse can claim the deduction for both homes.

Does a Rented Home Qualify for the Mortgage Interest Deduction?

If you have a second home and rent it out, there are special rules for whether you can deduct the mortgage interest.

Here’s the deal: if you rent your second home out for the entire year it’s treated as a business and is subject to the rules for rental property (refer to Publication 527, Residential Rental Property for more information).

But if you use your second home for part of the year, it’s a qualified home where you can deduct the mortgage interest. You just have to make sure that you use the property enough.

According to the IRS, you must visit your second home more than 14 days or more than 10% of the number of days during the year that the home is rented—whichever is longer.

Can You Claim the Mortgage Interest Deduction with a Home Office?

If you claim a home office in your main or second home, you have to separate the business and personal use of your home.

For example, if your home office is 15% of your home, then you can only deduct 85% of your home mortgage interest.

The remaining 15% of the interest could be included in your business expenses (refer to Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home for more details about how to figure a home office deduction).

What Kind of Debt Qualifies for the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction?

There are two types of debt that qualify for this big tax break: acquisition debt and equity debt.

Acquisition Debt

Any secured loan you get to buy, build or remodel a main or second home.

It includes refinanced debt up to the amount of your old mortgage balance just before doing the refinance.

The total amount of interest you can deduct for acquisition debt is limited to one million dollars for your main and second home (or $500,000 if you’re married filing separately).

Equity Debt

Any loan secured by your main or second home that you took out for a reason other than to buy, build, or remodel.

It could be money you spent to start a business, pay for education, or to take a vacation, for instance.

It has a much lower limit than acquisition debt for claiming the interest deduction: $100,000 (or $50,000 if you’re married filing separately).

How Does Ownership Interest Impact Who Can Claim the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction?

So, we covered all the requirements for claiming the mortgage interest deduction except the “ownership interest” part. I’ve found that that’s really the piece that trips most people up.

In the following section, I’ll cover who is entitled to claim the deduction in those circumstances and give you some interesting real-world questions and answers.

Perhaps you own property with multiple people, are responsible for paying a mortgage even if your name isn’t on the mortgage or title, or pay someone else’s mortgage for them, for instance.

I gave you an introduction to the mortgage interest tax deduction and told you what’s required to claim it.

You learned about the two major hurdles you have to jump over to qualify for it:

  1. You must have secured debt on a qualified home in which you have an ownership interest.
  2. You must file your federal income taxes using Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A.

Who Can Claim Home Mortgage Interest Deduction?

We covered what a secured debt is, the types of properties that qualify for this valuable tax deduction, and other situations like what happens if you rent out your second home or have a home office.

We didn’t cover the ownership interest requirement—so that’s what I’m going to focus on in the second half of this guide. I saved it for last because it seems to be the piece that confuses people the most.

What if You Own a Home But Are Not on the Mortgage?

One of the reasons people who are eligible to claim the mortgage interest deduction don’t claim it is because they don’t get a copy of Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement.

Mortgage lenders are required to send out Form 1098 each year to the borrower(s) on record. It shows how much you paid in interest, mortgage insurance, and deductible points during the year.

Example – Shared Home Ownership with a Family Member

Let’s say you own a second home at the beach with your brother. The agreement you made and put in writing was that if your brother got the mortgage, you’d be responsible for some of the minor handy work and you’d each pay 50% of the mortgage.

Both your names are on the title of the property but your brother is the only one listed on the mortgage—so he’ll be the only one who receives Form 1098. But since he paid half of the mortgage payments, he’s only entitled to 50% of the mortgage interest deduction and you’re entitled to the remaining 50%.

Ideally, you should get a copy of Form 1098 from your brother to submit with your tax return. You should also:

  • write a note explaining that you’re an owner of the property even though your name isn’t on the mortgage
  • include your brother’s name and address as the person who did receive Form 1098
  • show how much of the mortgage interest each of you paid

So, it doesn’t matter who receives Form 1098—if you own a qualified home with someone else and you paid mortgage interest (and itemize deductions on Schedule A), you can claim your share of the money-saving mortgage interest tax deduction.

What if You Own a Home But Are Not on the Mortgage or Title?

Another issue that comes up is whether or not you can claim the mortgage interest deduction when you’re not on the mortgage or on the title to a property. Here’s a question that I received:

My fiancé bought a home last year but I’m not on the title since my credit was not up to par. My fiancé does not work and I pay the mortgage. My question is if there’s any way I can benefit from this on my taxes or is it a complete loss for me?

In order to claim the mortgage interest deduction, you must have an ownership interest in the qualified property and be responsible for the secured debt. You’re not allowed to claim the mortgage interest deduction for someone else’s debt.

So the answer to the question depends on whether the fiancé considers you an equitable owner or a renter. Without being on the title of the property or having a written agreement that you’re an owner who is indebted for the mortgage, you cannot claim the mortgage interest deduction.

What Amount of Mortgage Interest Can Co-owners Claim?

If you own a home with someone else, the rule is that you can only claim the amount of interest that you actually paid. Here’s a question about this issue:

My girlfriend and I co-own a house together 50-50. Both our names are on the mortgage and we each pay half of it. Do we both have to claim equal amounts of mortgage interest when we itemize? Or can one claim all of it and the other not itemize?

The answer is that you can only claim the deduction for the interest you actually paid. So if each person paid 50% of the mortgage, each person is only eligible to deduct 50% of the interest.

However, if one person made 100% of the payments, they could claim 100% of the mortgage interest deduction.

Here’s another question:

My name is on a mortgage with my daughter-in-law. She and my son will not itemize deductions this year, but I will. Can I claim the total amount of interest even if I haven’t lived in the house? Can they take it in future years when they itemize?

The answer is that even if you’re indebted for a mortgage, you can only deduct interest for the payments you actually made.

If the daughter-in-law and son made all the mortgage payments, they are the only ones entitled to the deduction, and they can take it in any year that they itemize. Unfortunately, if they don’t itemize, no one can claim the deduction.

Important Tips for Claiming the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction

As you can see, understanding who’s eligible to claim the mortgage interest deduction can be a little tricky. Here are some final tips that can help protect you in the event of an IRS tax audit:

  • If you co-own property and are not listed on the mortgage, never make monthly payments to a co-owner because that could be construed as paying rent. Instead, make payments directly to the lender so your ownership interest can’t be questioned.
  • If you co-own a property but aren’t named on the deed, have your ownership interest clearly defined in a written contract.
  • If you pay someone else’s mortgage debt for them, you can never deduct the mortgage interest unless you are indebted as an owner of the property.

Try a Tax Prep Service

If you are still having problems understanding exactly how to take the mortgage interest deduction you might want to consult professional help. These top tax filing services will make sure you get your full deduction.

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Summary – Claiming the Home Interest Deduction

To wrap this up, you must satisfy the two criteria listed above:

  1. You must have secured debt on a qualified home in which you have an ownership interest.
  2. You must file your federal income taxes using Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A.

If you are a part owner of the home, then you will need some form of written proof stating your ownership and the amount of mortgage interest you paid during the year. Without having written proof, you may not legally be allowed to claim the home interest deduction.

If you have a more complicated situation than those listed above, you may wish to consult with a legal professional who specializes in real estate.

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  1. Venkatraman Gopalakrishnan says

    Dear Sir

    I am on the property Title of my house as a joint Tenant with my son. He only pays for mortgage interest for the property. But the lender has issued 1098 on my social security number. But it is actually my son who has paid the mortgage interest on the property. He has made payments by check. Is he allowed to claim IRS mortgage interest deduction? I am asking this because 1098 has my SSN on it instead of his SSN.
    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. Terri Broviak says

    My husband and I are both retired and on Social Security. We just recently bought a house, can we deduct the interest on our taxes? We don’t have any other outstanding bills, just the usual things… utilities, insurance, groceries etc.
    Thank you,

  3. Amirsa la says

    Hello. Such a very informative post, thank you. It answers me on whether I can claim mortgage interest on a property I am co-borrower on the loan but quit claimed my ownership interest off the property….I can’t because I no longer hold an ownership interest in the property.
    However, one follow up question…would I be allowed to claim the property as rental income (but not claim the mortgage interest income as a deduction). I am no longer on the property but receive a 1098 from the loan I am still on; however, I am not making the payments or receiving the rental income. This would be beneficial because my tax consequences would be low since I don’t have a lot of income. Thank you so much in advance for any help. I will also try a real estate professional but would love an objective answer on this, thanks again.

  4. Louie says

    Can I get a tax credit if I don’t make enough to file a return but I pay almost my whole social check to my mortgage interest?

  5. Rick says

    Quick question. I’m currently married and the home was my personal property from before we got married in 2018. I’m the only one on the loan and responsible for the debt on it. I pay all the bills but wife writes me a check monthly to help pay for some monthly items (car insurance, other bills etc) So if we are getting a divorce is she entitled to claim the interest if she’s not on the loan or the 1098? I obviously have the right to file married but separately and if that happened I would get a refund and she would owe just a little bit. We live in Texas

  6. Nancy says

    My daughter is is prison. I have been making her mortgage payments for tge last four years and paid her house taxes in 2018. My name is not on the mortgage, but I have made payments directly to the lender. What can I claim?

  7. Geneva Crosby says

    E filing, I get finished with mortgage interest info and it states a deduction is possible, but a Bill has to pass to make the credit possible for 2018/2019. What bill is this, any idea when I can expect to be able to claim the credit?

  8. Heather Besaw says

    I purchased my home before my fiance and I got married (just my name is on the deed and mortgage). We have been separated (not legally) for 4 years. I have been living in my own apartment for 2 years and he has been living in the house paying the mortgage. Since we live in a community property state, can he claim the mortgage interest and property taxes? Or, can I claim it even though I didn’t live in the house?

  9. Jim A says

    Hi Laura,

    In response to a scenario about claiming interest deduction on a home that someone else holds the mortgage, you wrote: “So the answer to the question depends on whether the fiancé considers you an equitable owner or a renter. Without being on the title of the property or having a written agreement that you’re an owner who is indebted for the mortgage, you cannot claim the mortgage interest deduction.”

    My situation is this. My wife and I sold a home and looked to buy another. We found a home for which we would not qualify for the mortgage, so my wife’s parents took out the mortgage for us. We made the down payment and paid the closing costs out of the proceeds of the sale of our previous home. And we now pay the mortgage. So we are effectively the “owners” of the home and are considered to be responsible for the mortgage debt.

    My question is, what kind of ‘written agreement” with my in-laws would suffice to document that we are “indebted for the mortgage” for the purpose of claiming the deduction for the mortgage interest?

  10. Samantha says


    My husband passed away a little over a year ago, the mortgage and deed are both in just his name. I did file probate in court and I became the administrator over the estate. I pay the mortgage, taxes, insurance and home owner association fees. Can I claim it on my taxes at the end of the year?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Samantha, I’m sorry for your loss. I don’t have an answer for you, as laws vary by state. I recommend speaking with an estate lawyer or tax professional for your situation. They can help you understand your options, including whether or not you can get the mortgage or deed changed to your name. I wish you the best.

  11. DORA RIVERA says

    I have been paying the house mortgage and i wanted to know if I can claim it on the income return even though its in both our names and he ever claims it. He lives with his mom and I in the house yet I can’t change it to my name unless the mortgage is paid for. I haven’t claimed it in years.

  12. Heather says

    My husband is not on the title or the mortgage– I pay all the bills. He uses a home office for his tutoring business. Am I allowed to mark that he is a home owner so we can deduct the mortgage insurance? I won’t deduct the mortgage insurance then.

  13. Lloyd says

    My sister and I inherited my Mother’s home in 2014. The house is paid off and both our names are on the deed. She pays all the taxes. Can she deduct all the tax on her return or should it be deducted 50-50 regardless of who pays them? I say she can deduct all and she says it is 50-50. Thanks.

  14. Michelle says

    I have two questions;
    I put down 70% on a house while the other person put down 30%. We both pay half of the mortgage and are now selling. Does the person who put down 30% get 50% of the gain on the house?
    If one of the people listed on the house does not live at the house but pays half of the mortgage can they get the tax credit for primary residence and can the other person claim all of it if they live there 100% of the time?

  15. Richard Stieglitz says

    Hi wondering, My sisters has a condo that she has been paying the mortgage on in the past. Unfortunately, she no longer can afford to make the payments. I want to make the payments on it directly to the lender from now on. Do I have to add my name to the deed, to be able to take the tax deduction. Thanks in advance

  16. Alan says

    I own a sole owner of a home. My sister lives in it and sends a check to my mortgage company. I get the 1098 at the end of the year. Who gets to deduct the interest?

  17. joe says

    is it possible to claim the interest paid on a mortgage, if you have only social security as income.if so i would appreciate any information you may have.thank you i am looking forward to hearing from you

  18. valerie says

    My husband passed away in 2013. When we originally bought our home he was on the note and we were both on the deed. I have been paying the note since he passed. Am I allowed to claim the mtg. interest on my taxes now. I live in MD.

  19. Carmen says

    Hi my husband and I are disabled, our daughter has been giving us money to make the mortgage payments for the last 10 years, she is in the tittle but not on the loan, she has been claiming the interest paid but is now been audited by the IRS since the payments are made out of our personal checking account but the money is giving to us by her what do we need to do to help her with the audit? can you please help me?
    Thank you

  20. Suzi says

    My husband lives with our nephew. All of last year my husband paid the mortgage bill. His name is NOT on the title of the house or the bank loan. Our nephew wants to assign his interest rights over to my husband for this past year so that he can get the tax break. Can this be done if it’s put in writing and/or notarized?

  21. El says

    My parents just refinanced their home and I also came on as a borrower. I am on deed but my name does not show up on mortgage statement. They received their tax information with only their names on it. I do live in the house and I do pay part of mortgage. Am I entitled to claim 25% of interest? Would I have to ask mortgage company to send another 1089 with my name on it?

  22. regina says

    My husband and i purchased a house with my brother-in-law. The 1089 only has our name. And my brother in law doesn’t live with us since we got the house. Can he still claim the 1089?

  23. joyce kamau says

    Hi, we have a loan with an ex-husband as primary person but now divorced, I have the property title in my name, I have paid mortgage without fail for 10 years and now I can’t seem to get a 1098 for 2014 and 2015. What could be the problem? No one at Wells Fargo Home mortgage can give me a straight answer. The year end statement shows the interest I paid, but WFB is sending me $0.00 interest paid for both years. I have been trying to resolve this since April 2014. Help!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Bryan says

    I work as a Department of Defense employee in Germany and I bought a house over here. Can I deduct any mortgage interest or costs associated with my house on my taxes? This is the only home I own.
    Thank you

  25. Tony says

    I was laid off work and qualified for help through harp. My mortgage was paid for almost the entire year until I went back to work. Am I still eligible to claim the interest deduction even though my mortgage was paid by harp

  26. Robyn says

    Ok so heres the situation. My husband and I are getting divorced. We bought a house in 2007, he was only on the title due to bad credit, in 2012 he had an affair ( I did not know about at the time) and when we refinanced he had them throw in a Quit claim with out me knowing before hand. I didn’t think about it then, but now it all makes sense..he walked out in 2014. He has been paying the mortgage because I have his daughter in the house. He wants to claim the house on his taxes this year but his name is now not on anything to do with it mortgage or title. Can he legally claim it? He also pays out of a company account he owns which is still technically half mine since we are not divorced yet. Thanks

  27. Thomas Parks says

    In my divorce the ex got possession of the home and pays the mortgage. The mortgage is solely in my name and the 1098 is in my name. Legally who can claim the deduction?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Thomas, I’m not certain. I would speak with a tax professional or lawyer for your situation. I would also look into legally changing the name on the mortgage. If your ex doesn’t continue making payments, the bank could come after you. This isn’t something you want hanging over your head.

  28. Lori says

    I did not claim my interest on a my mortgage last year and wanted to know how i can claim it? I have a 1098 for the year 2014 and need to know if i can claim it on my 2015 Tax return or do i have to amend my 2014 Tax return?

  29. Tom says

    I got married 11/02/14
    My Wife owns a homes and lived with her elderly mother.The home still has a mortgage she spends 3 days and night with her mother has her own business.So needs her write offs, mortgage interest restate taxs ect . I have a mortgage and need that also can we file separately and keep the deductions?

  30. nancy says

    Hi, my sister’s husband died before getting her listed on the deed and the mortgage. She is the survivor and has his will that will be probated in Feb. She has been paying the mortgage and bills and receiving rent since June. She has been told that she can not claim the mortgage deduction. Is that correct? Thanks so much,

    • Ryan Guina says

      Nancy, I recommend she speak with a tax professional. Asking a question on behalf of your sister is noble, but she should be the person to ask, and she should present all the pertinent information to the tax professional, who can assist her with filing her taxes and claiming the mortgage interest if she is able.

  31. Raj says


    Me & My Brother are planning to Own a house together. We both are single and are tax payers and have been filing separately. Can we get a mortgage together as co-borrower? and once we get the mortgage and in our Individual single tax return filing can we deduct individually and avail the benefits of paying for the house? I’ll really appreciate your guidance with this. Thanks a lot.

    Raj N

  32. Lynn says


    My husband passed away in late 2014. I have paid the mortgage for the entire year of 2015 however, my name is not on the Mortgage, nor am I on the deed/title to the home. I am the owner of the Trust and he had a Will as well that willed everything to me. It states that I can stay in the house as long as I want and as long as the mortgage and taxes are paid. I have proof that I have paid the mortgage on time each month. He had a quit claim deed and I had that filed and I believe the home is now in the name of the Trust…which I am the owner of. I need to know if I can claim the interest on my taxes. The 1098 will come to the house in his name. I am in the state of Michigan. Please advise. Thank you so much. With Love

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Lynn, I’m sorry about your loss. I recommend speaking with an attorney who specializes in estates and/or real estate to help you get your name transferred to the deed. This will prevent many problems in the future, as well as make things easier with your bank and the IRS. As for claiming the tax break, I am not certain. I would speak with a tax professional to make sure this is legal. In the mean time, getting the mortgage and paperwork transferred to your name should be a priority. Best of luck with this situation.

  33. Scott says

    I have been paying the house payment including insurance, taxes, and interest on my girlfriend’s property since July 2014. I am not on the mortgage nor am I on title for the property. I want to quit-claim onto the title. My understanding is that I would be eligible to claim the interest deduction on schedule A. However, how much of the interest can I claim if I get on title in October of 2015? – Scott

  34. Susan says

    In order to deduct mortgage interest on a home that I am temporarily renting to others, how recently do I have to have livd there? I am unsure as to whether it is wo or three of the last five years.

  35. charles zubillaga says

    This is what I thought and have been told by many IRS agents. I’m on the mortgage and my mother pays it. I have never claim the interest. The IRS has been harassing her for years now for gross negligence. The last time I spoke with them they told me to send another document stating all of the facts have it notarized and send in my mother’s bank statements. Then they proceed to send more threatening letters and have my mom on a payment plan now. What can I do this is horrific…

  36. Casey says

    Me and my husband have made a rent to own contract with my mom. She cannot afford her house anymore, so we are getting our contract notarized. If we have this contract notarized and it is rent to own, who should claim the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction?
    She has told us to go ahead and claim it, but she has already finished paying all the taxes on the house. So we are thinking she should claim the money. We think that’s fair. But later down the road, should we both claim it and split it 50/50 after we have paid on the house for 1+ years?

    • Ryan Guina says

      IF the house is still in her name and she paid the taxes, then she should claim the deduction. Beyond that, I can’t say what to do, because there are rules regarding who can claim the mortgage interest deduction. I recommend speaking with a tax professional for your situation. Best of luck.

  37. Grace Whelan says

    my husband sadly is the mortgage holder for his ex wife. Her name is not on the mortgage but on the deed. She has been late 36 times and we get the calls from Wells Fargo. She gets the mortgage interest statements each year and files it with her taxes. My question is how can she do that when it is addressed to him to her address? Her name is not on that mail just his and we live somewhere else with our own address.

  38. hadiqa says

    I bought a house but since I wasn’t working and had no credit, the house was bought on my brother’s name. But I am actual owner who is paying the mortgage . My question is, how do I claim my tax return since it comes on his name? How much I am entitled to since I am not working and my husband is paying the mortgage and the tax return claim comes in my brothers name? Thanks.

  39. Latoya Calligan says

    Hi… this question is about paying the taxes on a house…the house was left between me and two other siblings and I’m the only one who pays the taxes…I was told if I pay it for so long by myself some kind of way I can get full owership…is that true? If so just need to know what I need to do…thanks for your time

    • Ryan Guina says

      Latoya, to be honest, I don’t know how that works. I recommend speaking with a real estate attorney to better understand how those laws work. You may also wish to speak with an estate lawyer to see if they have information about how property transfers work when left to multiple people. The concern is if this is a joint property, then all property owners are responsible for the taxes. You should have some kind of agreement in place regarding who pays the taxes, and if the other part-owners fail to pay those taxes, how the issue will be handled. The last thing you want to happen is to assume ownership of the property without your siblings being aware of their rights of ownership. This could lead to bad blood or potential lawsuits, all of which you want to avoid. If you can’t come to an agreement over how to pay the taxes, then you may decide as a group that it is best to sell the property and split the proceeds. However you decide to do it, I encourage you to include your siblings in the process to avoid any long-term problems.

  40. Barb Cox says

    We own a home. Our son lives there and pays the mortgage. We do not rent to him. he is responsible for everything.
    The house we live in is a rental we rent from someone.
    Do we only take our rent payment as deduction or are we still allowed to deduct our mortgage interest and taxes on the one we own.

  41. Ray says

    If my relative lends me the money for a primary residence mortgage loan and I am paying him interest, can I deduct the interest on my taxes if we file the 1040 and 1098 forms? Is there anything else that we need to do to make this acceptable to the IRS?


  42. warren says

    I own a home but due to my wifes credit score she was unable toget on the loan but I am a 100% disabled can my wife claim the 1098

  43. Lisa says

    My husband and I are separated but still live together. I am on the deed but not the mortgage. Can my husband claim all of the interest on the home on his taxes filing married filing single? We paid the mortgage from a joint account.

  44. Lori says

    Thank you for publishing this important information. My ex-husband and I entered into a business deal for the purchase of a home. A contract was drawn that shows it is my primary residence and that I would be paying all mortgage, taxes and Homeowners Insurance. I am not on the mortgage, but I am on the title/deed. I have been paying the mortgage for 4 years and he has been writing off the interest from his income taxes. I had asked if I could use the write-off and he said no. I did not know the law and did not want to jeopardize my own tax filing so I did not pursue.

    Long story short, is there some sort of real tax law, like RCW, that I could refer to so that I can let him know, with legal fact, that I will be writing off the interest from now on as I am the only one making the payments?

    Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Lori, I recommend speaking with a real estate attorney or tax professional for your situation. This isn’t something I can advise on. Best of luck.

  45. Mike says

    Through a lawyer in 2012 My mother and I signed papers and tramsferring the property to my name, the agreement gives her right to live there until she dies, mortgage is in her name but i pay it. the mortgage payments get taken out of her account though, records department has me on file as owner, property interest forms comes in her name. can I claim property taxes and insurance for the home on my taxes rven if my name is nowhere there?

  46. Sama says

    I need some help for my mortgage deduction. I am paying my mortgage in New York where my home is but I live now in ALabama. All my income is from Alabama where I lived the whole 2014. I know I can claim my mortgage interest from the federal but my question is: Can I claim the Mortgage Interest and Real State Tax in my Alabama return or not?

    Thank you

  47. Eva says

    My husband and I live in a home that is financed through my son. We have an agreement with my son that we will put the mortgage in our name and have made all the montly payments.My son doesn’t live here anymore. Can we claim the mortgage interest? Can we claim the property tax credit? if we can claim the property tax credit, how would that work since we are not renters?

  48. Christine says


    Hi. I read your publication and we found it very interesting and well written. However, we have a client in a similar situation and we are trying to back up claiming the interest on his home even though the home is in his parents name. He has the 1098 from the bank with his parents name on it, he is on the deed however in order to nulify the IRS we are in need of the publication number from the IRS and what it says and/or where this info was pulled from while writing your article. Thanks again for the info…Christine at the tax office

  49. Jessica says

    My husband and I are living with my parents. The home and mortgage is in their name. For the over a year, I have been paying the mortgage by direct transfer from my bank account to my mother’s. My parents are not filling taxes this year as they don’t have an income. They would like for us to be allowed the write-off. Is this possible? If so, what type of documentation would I need to send to the IRS?

  50. Brian says

    Nandha, Even though others are renting your house, as long as your name is on the mortgage note and you are paying the monthly mortgage you can claim property tax and mortgage interest on your taxes each year….In regards to the rent you are currently paying there is no such thing as an offset I’m afraid, but the rental income you are receiving is regarded as income by the IRS and subject to taxes if you report it.

  51. Nandha says

    I own a house in which I lived for 5 years before moving out to a different state this year in august. I was able to rent out the house starting september. Can I claim deduction of the property tax and mortgage interest in my taxes? Should I deduct them proportionately for the period I lived in that house.

    Secondly, can I offset the rent I am paying now against the rental income I am receiving from my home (mentioned above)

  52. Josh says

    My fiancé and I purchased a home last year; we share a bank account and are both eligible to claim 50%. Both of us are listed on the bank account and house title. All tax/mortgage payments are made from our joint account. My question is, would it be more beneficial for one of us to claim 100% of the taxes (the other claiming $0)? We file separately & I make about $30k more a year, so I’m not sure if it would impact the overall return to put the entire thing under her or my return.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Josh, I can’t answer your question off the top of my head. The best way to answer your question is to run the situation through your taxes both ways. You can easily do this if you use a tax software program such as TurboTax, H&R Block @ Home, TaxACT, etc. Just don’t file until you know the best action to take.

  53. dennis says

    Me and my wife are legally separated but she and my children reside in the home . I am the only one the deed and the mortgage. Can she deduct the mortgage interest or the real estate taxes on her taxes returns? I thought that only the person that is on the secured note or mortgage can claim it.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Dennis, my understanding is the person whose name is on the deed can claim the mortgage interest deduction if they pay the mortgage and live there. However, I’m not sure how it works in the case of a divorce or legal separation. I recommend speaking with a tax professional to make sure this is handled properly.

  54. Ivan Amos says

    My partner and I own two vacation homes and a primary home. Both are listed as owners on all the mortgages. We share the primary mortgage payment but each pay the mortgage on one vacation house. Can we each claim the total mortgage interest, taxes on one of the vacation house plus half the primary residence?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Ivan, I’m not sure the exact answer to your question, but your total financial situation is probably such that it is worth the investment in using a tax professional to prepare your taxes. A tax professional should be able to help you find immediate tax savings with your current situation and can help you with long-term tax planning. In the long run, you should save more than you spend on the tax preparer. I would call around and interview a couple accountants and interview them based on your financial situation. You will be better off in the long run. Best of luck!

  55. Brian says

    ?I co-own a property with my son who is not named on the deed, is there a standard written contract that I can fill out to have his ownership interest clearly defined or do I have to make one up myself?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Brian, I would contact a real estate lawyer so you can get a formal legal contract. It will save you a lot of time and money in the long run (it will also help you avoid costly probate or taxes in the event one of you dies).

  56. Debbie says

    Hi, I have a dilemma. I worked very little this year and own a home my name is on deed and mortgage and my domestic partner who has been living with me for 11yrs has been helping with the payments, I use some of my child support to pay what I can towards the mortgage as well. We file separately in the past and I claimed head of household as I do have a my son living with me and claim EIC. But now that I made very little this past year will I still be able to do my taxes and claim my deductions as always or would it be better if we got married we were going to anyway at some point would that make it easier and just file a joint return. I am very confused about how its going to work. I only worked 3 months out of this year making maybe 3,000 not even this year. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Debbie, this is a question with many variables. Your best bet would be to contact a tax professional for specific advice on your situation.

  57. Suzy says

    My husband passed away two years ago, and I continue making monthly payments to the Lender on the house, using checks with my name on them (so the Lender and I have proofs that I have been the person who pays for the mortgage). My name is not on the mortgage, but is on the deed – which now has been awarded Years’ support by the Probate court. I have filed taxes last year as a widow and claimed the mortgage interest, and plan to do it for this year’s taxes. I understand that I will have to change my filing status to Head of Household in the years after this year (unless I am remarried). My question is, can I still continue claiming the mortgage interests in the future, when the 1098 is addressed to my late husband’s name and his SSN? Or should I refinance the house and transfer the name over to mine?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Suzy, I’m sorry to hear about your loss. To be honest, I’m not sure you will have to refinance the house if it was awarded to you in Probate. Unfortunately, I”m not 10% certain on how the process works. My recommendation is to contact the estate attorney who closed your husband’s estate, and see what needs to be done to get the home, or loan, in your name. If he isn’t able to do it, he should be able to recommend a real estate attorney who can help you with the process. Best of luck with this.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Heath, it depends on what you mean. How can you get them out of the house? How can you get their name removed from the mortgage paperwork? I recommend you speak with a real estate attorney who can help you with your specific situation. Best of luck.

  58. Troy says

    My ex and I divorced 3 years ago, both of our names are on the mortgage loan. She has not lived there for 3 years and I make all of the house payments. She has no financial ties to the house except that her name is still on the loan (trying to get her name off an upside down loan is hard). My question is this, per our divorce decree I have sole possesion of the house and full responsibility of payment, am I entitiled to claim the interest on my taxes being as I paid 100% of the house payments?


    • Ryan Guina says

      Yes, Troy, you should be able to claim 100% of the interest since you have a court order that gives you sole possession of the house and full responsibility of the payment. Just be sure to keep a copy of the court order should any questions arise from the situation. It would be in your best interest to have her name removed from the loan as soon as possible, simply to prevent any future claims on the property. Best of luck.

  59. Marc Luna says

    Great information! My situation is similar…
    Mom is on the Mortgage, we have all 3 been added as owners on the deed. We have been giving the money to mom to pay the mortgage so we have been paying 100%. What form do we use to claim interest 1098? and can we go back the last 2 years (3 in total)?

  60. Judy Haliburda says

    My boyfriend bought me a condo only his name on mortgage. Both names on title. Who is responsible for taxes. I have full survivorship.

  61. Mary-Lou says

    My daughter and her boyfriend bought a condo together her name is not on the deed or the mortgage is she entitled to claim any interest on her income tax? Does she have any rights to this property? She contributes to the monthly mortgage payments and has put down more of a down payment for the purchase of the condo then her boyfriend.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Mary-Lou, I’m not sure what legal rights she has if her name is not on the mortgage. This could be a sticky situation if anything happens to their relationship. I highly recommend she speak with a real estate attorney to ensure she has her name added to the mortgage if possible, or at least have a legal document drawn up that gives her legal ownership in the condo.

  62. david heckathorne says

    i bought my parents a home six years ago for them to live in and they still do. the home and mortgage is in my name and my name only. i get a 1098 at the end of each year for taxes and interest paid. my parents pay me no rent.

    i have never claimed a deduction of any kind for this home on my personal tax return.

    can i claim the interest paid and real estate taxes on the home?

    can i put the home on schedule e and claim all expenses and claim income what would be the fair market value as rental income?


  63. Doug says

    My wife and I are paying on a piece of property with a mobile home on it. It’s considered one piece of property but with two addresses on it. Recently, my parents put up a modular home on the other part of the property. Currently my wife and I aren’t getting the tax benefits for the property payments/property taxes because my dad paid cash for the property and we’re paying him directly.
    I’m going to ask my dad about me being added to thier home as an owner so I can deduct the payments. Or, can I make their mortgage payments and property taxes and deduct the interest and taxes without being added as long as I can show that I am the one making all the payments?

    • Ryan Guina says

      That is a great question, Doug. This is a situation where you should speak with a tax professional help you set up a situation where you will be lawfully eligible to make the tax deduction.

  64. Kyle says

    Hi Laura,
    Great article, thanks.
    Can you offer guidance on the following? My wife and I live with my elderly parents. The home is in a life estate in NY with my parents as life tenants and me and my siblings as heirs.

    We are planning to add an apartment to the home (commonly known as a mother-daughter as it is only legal in our township if the apartment is for a blood relative) for my wife and I. I spoke to our bank, who advised they will write the refi mortgage (with written consent from all the heirs, which will not be a problem). My wife and I will be paying 100% of the mortgage, so I would assume that besides holding the mortgage with my parents, a letter from them stating that we have paid 100% of the mortgage will suffice? This also will surely pass the smell test for “ownership interest.”

    Any advice or thoughts are appreciated!

  65. Kristen says

    My situation does not appear to be addressed so I need some help. My brother and I have been on the deed to my fathers house for quite some time. My father passed away in July 2012 and we sold his home in July 2013. Can my brother and I each claim 50% of the mortgage interest paid on my fathers home even though it was not our primary or secondary home based upon IRS requirements?

  66. Noemi says


    My sister and brother in-law helped me buy a house two years ago. I am not on title or mortgage but I make the mortgage payments and I can prove it. I understand that it is a challenge to deduct interest and property taxes since my name is nowhere. But if my name is added to title prior to filing taxes for 2013. Can I deduct them then?

  67. james rios says

    This is helping me out a bunch but the question I have is this. I own a house but I don’t live in it. My name is still on the mortgage, I have a partner who became a middle man or third party if you will, who helped “sell” the house to my renters, and now are owners, but if they don’t pay the gentleman who is the middle man is not responsible, I am, if anyone else defaults on this loan it falls on me, I am taken off the note only in the even that the the owners living in the house refinance or the third party guy refinances, other than that it is in my name for the next 3-4 yrs. What can I claim especially since they are behind and ruining my credit. I know I probably should not have listened to others and gone against my better judgement but I did. So now what?

  68. Israel says

    Hi, me & my girlfriend both purchased a property and both our names are on the 1098 form. I make about 65% of the payment for tax, mi, & mortgage but want her to claim 100% of the deduction to make things easier since I am deducting our 2 daughters. I don’t want to have to do the percentages on the the deductions . Will his be an issue in CA??


    • Ryan Guina says

      I don’t have a good answer here. I recommend speaking with a tax professional who can walk you through your specific situation. Best of luck.

  69. Ann Marie says

    HELP, I think I’m getting the short end of the stick!

    I purchased my mom’s home from her in March of 2012 under an agreement of purchase that is not filed. I and have been making her mortgage payments since I do not qualify for a loan and it’s a VA loan to boot. The lawyer did not file the warranty deed putting me on the property as current owner (I filed it in January of 2014). The agreement that the lawyer wrote was that she could claim all interest and deductions from the loan payments so long as the loan is in her name. Was the lawyer correct in that she can legally claim the deductions? This will be the second year she is refusing to allow me to use the deductions and yet she is not paying gift tax or claiming it as income.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Ann, I don’t think you can legally claim the interest deduction on a loan that isn’t in your name. This is something you will need to discuss with your lawyer and/or a tax professional.

  70. Marianne says

    My former BF recently got IRS audit as in 2011 I gave him my Mortgage interest on my house. They sent him a notice said his tax income mortgage deduction was more than what was reported to his name (he owns a small condo). I did give this mortgage interest amount to him in 2010 but it was not audited. Now the IRS wanted the 3500 refund back for the year 2011 income tax.

    I want to dispute as I never claimed this amount in my income tax as I made nothing during that year. Is it OK to dispute and state that he helped me paying during my depression time & loosing business after loss my late parents back to back? Or can I say I give him this mortgage interest as we had previously agreed that he would help me such following…?

    What is the best way to approach to refute this IRS refund charge back? I don’t have the money to give back, period.

    Any sounded advice? Contacted CPA & Tax attorneys who both turned down to take my case but advised to pay up. Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Marianne, I’m not a tax professional, but so far as I know, you cannot transfer deductions to another person for tax reasons, unless you are legally married. My recommendation is to follow the advice of tax professionals. They have experience in these matters.

  71. Ning says

    I am a co borrower of the loans and the only one claiming 100 % of the mortgage interest deduction . But the form 1098 is not under my tax id, it ‘s under my coborrower ID number though he does not claim for it on his tax. Is this okay to put on schedule a line 10 or line 11?

  72. Huyen says

    Can my sister includes my name on the title of her property even I have bad credit? Will the lender checks my credit?

  73. Ginger says

    My boyfriend and I have lived together for 9 yrs. 9 years ago I bought a home in my name only. Four years ago my income went down significantly. To survive I sold my boyfriend half the interest in my house. I have a notarized grant deed however did not record it. I gave him half the interest deduction and now he is being audited. I would like to know since we have the notarized grant deed giving him half equity with a date showing four years ago it was signed by a notary will that be enough to claim the deduction.

  74. RosaLinda G Dryden says

    Here is my question which I will present as scenario: I bought a 2nd home as a rental investment due to that it was within the 75 miles and did not qualify as a 2nd home. The house is actually my sister’s home and she lives in it. I am the only one on the title and on the loan. She has been making payment directly to the lender however payments are in cash. There is no written agreement of ownership between us. I have not claimed this information in my taxes. I bought the house for them due to credit issues and would not qualify for the loan.
    May I transfer the form 1098 amount to her so that she can claim it in her taxes?

  75. Greg Balise says

    I have a second home in my name. My mother lives at this home and pays the mortgage payments and property tax payments herself. I do not profit of the payment and its way below market value. She actually pays about $330 a month for principal and interest. Am I able to deduct the mortage interest and property tax on my taxes. She does not work and does not file any taxes. I cant seem to get a clear answer from any one I ask.

    • Jason says

      Basic answer to these types of questions is no. If you did not pay for something you can’t deduct it. Technically speaking if you took her payment and paid the mortgage yourself you would then have to claim the money as income but then could take the deduction. Would also need a rental agreement and pay any applicable use taxes. And as always you should seek the advice of a CPA or tax attorney.

  76. J says

    My elderly mom is having trouble paying her mortgage, I am considering moving in with her and make 1/2 of the monthly mortgage payments. As of now, I currently rent and have no tax write-offs and wonder if there is a way for her to add me to her deed and mortgage for tax purposes. However, I do not want this to interfere with whatever benefits she may be receiving, such as medicaid, etc. Any suggestions on how we both can benefit tax wise from my moving in and helping her with her mortgage payments?

  77. tiffany says

    Have a question, me and my partner are buying a house but the loan will be just in her name but I will be on title, she is on disability and I claim her on my taxes, can I claim the interest since I claim her on taxes anyway?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Tiffany, I don’t have a firm answer for you. I recommend speaking with a tax professional before making that move.

  78. Buddy says

    I have a weird situation where I sold 5 duplexes on contract. The purchaser never fullfilled the contract and never paid the down payment. We did have a contract but I was paying on the orignal mortgage and everything was in my name (Taxes, title, etc.) He owned them for about 2 years and gave them back. I never gave him a 1098 but he deducted the interest and now the IRS wants him to pay. Any suggestions?

  79. Kevin says

    Question? If I am in a rent to own contract should I receive a form 1098 and am able to claim the interest on the rent to own home.

  80. danielle says

    hi I have a question my grandma passed away 3 years ago and left her house behind it wasn’t paid off so me and my husband decide to take it over and just pay the monthly payment every month. we are still both in our 20 and couldn’t get a mortgage cause we have bad credit. we get all the from to claim the taxes on the house every year but have don’t it isn’t sure if we are allowed. we make every monthly payment pay all the taxes on the house and the house insurance. are we allowed to claim it on our taxes at the end of the year?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Danielle, I recommend visiting a tax professional for this question, and then an estate lawyer to help determine how to legally get the house in your name. This could cause problems own the road if you haven’t already done this.

  81. Kevin says

    Quick question. I am a renter and am currently working on fixing my credit and I am a couple of years away from being able to secure a mortgage. My landlord and I have come to an aggreement to buy the house in the future when I can secure the loan but would like to set an amortization schedule now so a portion of my monthly payment will come off the principal thus affecting the amount I actually have to finance down the road. I am wondering if there is a way I can claim some of the interest payments even though I am not on the note? Can he transfer a protion of it to me (provided we have some kind of contractual agreement stating our intentions)?

    • Ryan Guina says

      You may be able to come up with a rent to purchase arrangement, but I would recommend having a lawyer review the contract to ensure that it spells out the rights and interests of each party. Any time you are dealing with a major financial purchase, it’s a good idea to put things in writing.

  82. Frank Bardell says

    I have a unique situation. My Mom and I own a rental property together. The home was purchased for $300,000.00. We each put $25,000.00 down. She refinanced her home and w e paid cash for the rental property. We set up an LLC and pay her mortgage form a joint account. The deed is in both our names.
    Each year she files her taxes and gives me the K 1 form to give to my accountant.
    Because my wife and I don’t make much, and I have deductions already that gets us all our taxes back, We don’t need the K1 form. Can my Mom take the full deduction ?
    Also, I’m filing for the Pell Grant for my daughter for college. The rental is worth $300,000 and shows as being fully paid for. But my mom refinanced her home. If the house were sold today her mortgage would have to be satisfied.
    So on paper it looks like I have $150,000 in assets. How do I get around this when applying for student aid ?
    Hopefully you can answer my questions. Thank You, Frank

    • Ryan Guina says

      Frank, your situation is very unique and complicated. I strongly recommend seeking the advice of a professional tax avisor to ensure you do everything correctly. Paying for the tax advice can potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the long run and is well worth the expense.

  83. Laura Adams says

    @Prasad It couldn’t hurt to have it notarized.–but I recommend that you find a local CPA who can look at your daughter’s return and all the supporting paperwork to advise you whether it’s worthwhile to push forward with a dispute. You would need to be represented by either a CPA, an Enrolled Agent (EA), or an attorney at tax court anyway.

    • Jayboy says

      Hi Prasad. My wife and I purchased a townhouse in 2012. Our in laws got the loan since we didn’t have enough credit history. The mortgage payment comes out of my wife and I CHECKING ACCOUNT as well as the HOA. We didn’t know we could be on the deed without being on the mortgage. HOW claim our right to the property if our in law is pretexting its his house because he is the only one on the deed.

  84. Laura Adams says

    @Prasad I neglected to say that you should have a written agreement with your daughter that says she’s responsible for 100% of the debt.

  85. Laura Adams says

    @Prasad If your daughter itemized her deductions and can prove that she made 100% of the mortgage payments, I would dispute the IRS on this. She is entitled to the deduction. Call and speak to an IRS representative to find out if you’re missing something.

    • Prasad says

      Thanks for quick reply. As a matter of fact, I did send all doc evidence such as copy of my return, City’s records showing my daughter owns 50% share and copy of title where I have added my daughter with 50% ownership etc. Yet, IRS while sending notice, DID NOT EVEN REFER OUR EXPLANATION, but simply sent a letter saying they determined her claim is DISALLOWED. They further said if we want to dispute we can appeal before the Tax Court at Washington.
      Pl advice

  86. Prasad Narla says

    Hi Laura,

    I just read part 2 of Understanding the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction.

    I’m almost in a similar situation. I own the home 50% and my daughter 50%. But Form 1098 is on my name. But, we claimed 100% deduction in her tax return and I gave an explanation that she is the one paying whole mortgage interest and loan (she was not in the bank loan agreement when I bought the home. Now we can’t change the agreement as the home value is less than the mortgage value). since she is claiming 100% deduction, I did not claim any deduction in my return.

    But, IRS refused to accept and disallowed her deduction. Could you please help me. I DO NOT MIND IF YOU CHARGE FOR YOUR TIME since this is a personal issue.


  87. Doable Finance says

    If you don’t get 1098 by the end of January, call the lender and they will send you one. By law, you are supposed to get one by Jan 31.

  88. ross says

    This was the first year i was able to claim this deduction. I actually have never heard of it until recently. It was a nice surprise when my accountant explained it to me. I also got my homebuyer credit. This is the first year i’ve been happy with the outcome of my taxes.

  89. krantcents says

    This is good information! Good points to keep in mind before you enter into an agreement for a house.

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