How to Deduct Points From a Refinanced Mortgage or Loan for a Second Home

Some of the best perks of owning a home are the tax breaks. Know what expenses you can deduct, and understand how new laws affect you. If you're currently renting, consider the tax advantages of homeownership. This may be the time to buy a home.

If you refinanced your mortgage, the points you paid are not deductible in the year you paid them, unlike the points you paid when you first took out your mortgage. For refinanced mortgages, you have to deduct the points equally over the life of the loan. This also goes for loans you take out to buy a second home or investment property.

HERE'S HOW: Divide the points paid by the number of payments to be made over the life of the loan. EXAMPLE: If you paid $2,000 in points and will make 360 payments on a 30-year mortgage, you can deduct $66.72 [($2,000/360) x 12] each year, assuming you make 12 mortgage payments in a year.

There is an exception: If you use part of the money for home improvements, you can deduct the portion of points related to the improvements in the year you paid them.

EXAMPLE: If you refinanced your $200,000 mortgage with a new 30-year loan of $250,000, paid $2,000 in points and used the extra $50,000 to make home improvements, you can deduct 20 percent or $400 [($50,000/250,000) x 2,000] of points in the year they were paid. The remaining points paid must be deducted equally over 360 monthly payments or $53.28 [($1,600/360) x 12] each year.

NOTE: If your mortgage ends early because you paid it off, refinanced it with another lender or sold the home, you can deduct any remaining points for the mortgage in that year. So, in the above example, if you sold the house the following year, you can deduct $1,546.72 ($1,600-$53.28).

Always consult your tax adviser. For more information, read IRS Publication 936.

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