LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Henry Daniel Lively | Jul 25, 2011

Home Mortgage Interest Deduction - Acquisition Debt

Home Mortgage Interest Deduction -

Even though the law has been out for a while now, the question still comes up often enough "How much can I deduct on my home mortgage interest?" The first issue with this question is what is home acquisition debt. Once we have the answer to this question you will be able to answer the question of how much interest you can deduct.

Home Acquisition Debt

Home acquisition debt is a mortgage you took out after October 13, 1987, to buy, build, or substantially improve a qualified home (your main or second home). It also must be secured by that home.

If the amount of your mortgage is more than the cost of the home plus the cost of any substantial improvements, only the debt that is not more than the cost of the home plus improvements qualifies as home acquisition debt. The additional debt may qualify as home equity debt.

** Home acquisition debt limit.** The total amount you can treat as home acquisition debt at any time on your main home and second home cannot be more than $1 million ($500,000 if married filing separately). This limit is reduced (but not below zero) by the amount of your grandfathered debt. Debt over this limit may qualify as home equity debt. ** Refinanced home acquisition debt.** Any secured debt you use to refinance home acquisition debt is treated as home acquisition debt. However, the new debt will qualify as home acquisition debt only up to the amount of the balance of the old mortgage principal just before the refinancing. Any additional debt not used to buy, build, or substantially improve a qualified home is not home acquisition debt, but may qualify as home equity debt. ** Mortgage that qualifies later.** A mortgage that does not qualify as home acquisition debt because it does not meet all the requirements may qualify at a later time. For example, a debt that you use to buy your home may not qualify as home acquisition debt because it is not secured by the home. However, if the debt is later secured by the home, it may qualify as home acquisition debt after that time. Similarly, a debt that you use to buy property may not qualify because the property is not a qualified home. However, if the property later becomes a qualified home, the debt may qualify after that time. ** Mortgage treated as used to buy, build, or improve home.** A mortgage secured by a qualified home may be treated as home acquisition debt, even if you do not actually use the proceeds to buy, build, or substantially improve the home. This applies in the following situations. 1.

You buy your home within 90 days before or after the date you take out the mortgage. The home acquisition debt is limited to the home's cost, plus the cost of any substantial improvements within the limit described below in (2) or (3).

You build or improve your home and take out the mortgage before the work is completed. The home acquisition debt is limited to the amount of the expenses incurred within 24 months before the date of the mortgage.

You build or improve your home and take out the mortgage within 90 days after the work is completed. The home acquisition debt is limited to the amount of the expenses incurred within the period beginning 24 months before the work is completed and ending on the date of the mortgage.

You can deduct mortgage interest to the extent that it is qualified Home Acquisition Debt as described above (Limited to $1 Million). You can also deduct home equity debt up to an additional $100,000. This is debt that you added to improve the property. To the extent the debt on your property does not meet this criteria it is not deductible.

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