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Homeowner Tax Tips For Your Best Return: Deducting Mortgage Interest

by Home Acton News

Homeowner Tax Tips For Your Best Return: Deducting Mortgage Interest


The mortgage interest deduction is one of the largest tax benefits homeowners get. Here’s what you need to know to take advantage of it:

If you itemize your deductions on Schedule A of Form 1040, you can include the interest you paid on your home mortgage of up to $1 million ($500,000 for married, filing single) as long as you used the loan to buy, build or improve your home.

You can generally deduct the interest on a home equity loan of up to $100,000 ($50,000 for married filing single) used for any purpose, as long as the home equity debt plus your first mortgage don't add up to more than the value of your home.

Get more details about the Mortgage Interest Deduction in Internal Revenue Service Publication 936.

Here are 10 more things you need to know to claim your mortgage interest deduction:

  1. In general, you have to be legally obligated to pay the mortgage. In other words, you can’t deduct mortgage interest paid, for example, on your parents' home unless you have a legal duty to pay their mortgage.
  2. If you have a high income, the Alternative Minimum Tax can affect your ability to deduct mortgage interest.
  3. Your mortgage must be a secured debt, meaning your lender can foreclose on your home if you don’t pay your mortgage.
  4. Your home can be a boat, mobile home, house trailer, condominium, cooperative or similar property, which has cooking, sleeping and toilet facilities.
  5. You can deduct late payment charges as though they were interest as long as your lender didn't perform a specific service in exchange for the fee.
  6. If you pay off your home mortgage early and you have to pay a prepayment penalty, that amount also counts as interest, as long as your lender doesn't charge the fee in exchange for a specific service performed or to cover the cost of something connected to your mortgage (like giving you a payoff statement).
  7. If you make annual, or periodic, rental payments on a redeemable ground rent, you can generally deduct them as mortgage interest. Payments made to end the ground lease, and payments for nonredeemable ground rent, aren't deductible as mortgage interest.
  8. Reverse mortgage interest generally isn't deductible until it’s paid – and you don’t usually pay interest on a reverse mortgage until you (or your heirs) sell your home and pay off the reverse loan.
  9. If you own a cooperative apartment, you’ll get a Form 1098 from the co-op telling you how much interest you paid on any building-wide mortgages. You can deduct that amount along with the interest you paid on your individual unit loan (if you got a mortgage to buy your shares in the co-op).
  10. The rules change if you got your mortgage on or before Oct. 13, 1987.

Getting a headache from thinking about all the different rules? You can use tax software or an online tax service to prepare your return. PC Magazine says the TaxACT Ultimate Bundle was the best online tax program last year. Consumer Reports Magazine has good advice about selecting online tax preparation help.


Do You Have These Dangerous Products In Your Home?

by Home Action News

Do You Have These Dangerous Products In Your Home?


Kidde and Interlogix Smoke and Combination Smoke/CO Alarms

Kidde is recalling about 1.2 million home smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The recalled models are i12010S, il2010SCO and KN-COSM-IB. The model number and manufacture dates are printed on a label on the back of the alarm.

The alarms are hard-wired into your home's electric power and were sold by CED, City Electric Supply, HD Supply, Home Depot, Menards Inc. and other retailers, electrical distributors and online at, and from January 2014 through July 2014 for between $30 and $50.


Sanus Simplicity SLF5 Television Wall Mounts


The nut securing the television to the main arm assembly can loosen causing the attached television to become detached from the arm assembly, posing an impact hazard.

The recall affects 207,000 mounts sold at Costco from July 2013 to September 2014 for about $125.


Fiskars Bypass Lopper Shears

The lopper handles of these 32" bypass shears can break when attempting to cut branches, posing a risk of serious injury and laceration. This recall involves about 277,000 loppers sold at Home Depot stores nationwide and online at from May 2011 through June 2014 for about $40.

"FISKARS” is printed on one handle and product identification information, including model number 6954, is printed on a label on the opposite handle above the barcode.The firm has received 11 reports of incidents involving lopper handles breaking, including reports of bruising and lacerations, some required stitches to the head and face.


Hearth & Home Gas Fireplaces, Stoves, Inserts and Log Sets

The gas valve in certain Hearth & Home Technologies®, Heat-N-Glo®, Heatilator®, Outdoor Lifestyles® and Quadra Fire® natural or propane gas indoor and outdoor fireplaces, stoves, inserts and log sets can leak creating a fire hazard.

The recall affects about 20,000 units sold by fireplace stores from May 2014 through July 2014 for between $1,200 and $8,000.


Ace Bayou Bean Bag Chair

Ace Bayou Corp. has recalled over 2 million bean bag chairs following the deaths of two children. The zippers on the bean bag chairs can be opened and children can then crawl inside, get trapped and suffocate or choke on the bean bag chair’s foam beads.

The recalled chairs with zippers that open were sold in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and fabrics. They include round or L-shaped, vinyl or fabric, and are filled with polystyrene foam beads. They were sold in a variety of colors, including purple, violet, blue, red, pink, yellow, Kelly green, black, port, navy, lime, royal blue, turquoise, tangerine and multi-color. “ACE BAYOU CORP” is printed on a tag sewn into the bean bag chair’s cover seam.

The recalled bean bag chairs were sold at Bergner's, Big Lots, Bon-Ton, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's, Meijer, Pamida, School Specialty, Wayfair, Walmart and Younkers stores and online at,, and other websites before July 2013 for between $30 and $100.


Vornado Air Recalls Electric Space Heaters

This recall includes about 79,000 Vornado VH110 Whole Room Vortex electric space heaters sold in two colors, black and white. The heater can overheat and cause the units to melt, catch fire and ignite nearby items, posing a fire and burn hazard to consumers.

The heaters were sold at Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, Menards, Orchard Supply, Target and other retailers nationwide and online at and from June 2013 through May 2014 for about $60.


Briggs & Stratton Snapper Rear Engine Riding Mowers

Weld on the drive axle can fail resulting in loss of brake control, posing an injury hazard. The 8,500 Briggs & Stratton Snapper Rear Engine Riding Mowers recalled are red with a black fuel tank, steering wheel and seat. The name Snapper is printed on both sides of the mower. The mowers were sold at Family Farm stores, Power Equipment Direct and Briggs & Stratton Snapper dealers nationwide from April 2013 through May 2014 for between $1,300 and $2,000.


Auto Airbag Recall

Over seven million Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors vehicles may have been recalled because they have  defective Takata airbags. The recall was first issued 18 months ago but was updated in October.

Many of the vehicles involved were shipped to Florida, Puerto Rico, limited areas near the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana, as well as Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii.

The VIN lookup tool will tell you if your car is involved in the recall.

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Contact Information

Photo of Frank Taglienti Real Estate
Frank Taglienti
Berkshire Hathaway PenFed REALTORS®
565 Benfield Road, Suite 100
Severna Park MD 21146

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