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-   -   Mortgage deduction going the way of the dodo? (http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f28/mortgage-deduction-going-the-way-of-the-dodo-54676.html)

RetirementColdHardTruth 02-11-2011 07:03 PM

Mortgage deduction going the way of the dodo?
 
I do not think this will pass but who really knows.

News Headlines

Telly 02-11-2011 10:23 PM

A couple months ago I remember reading a Scott Burns column in the newspaper that the effect on most people wouldn't be that bad, and why.

I found the article on his website:

Would You Miss the Mortgage Interest Deduction? - Registered Investment Advisor

Brat 02-11-2011 10:59 PM

They can start by eliminating the deduction for 2nd homes. Not only with the RE industry object but so will the small yacht and RV folks kick.

M Paquette 02-11-2011 11:17 PM

I think far fewer people benefit from the mortgage interest deduction than believe they do. My dad had always said that he wanted to have a mortgage for the tax deduction, and even got a new mortgage on their retirement place, when he could have payed cash. (There can be good reasons for doing this, but the tax deduction isn't really one of them. Pay all that interest so you can reduce your taxes by a fraction of it?)

When I wrapped up my parent's estate I dug up all the old tax returns, all professionally done by a CPA they liked. For every year, going back some 20 years, the standard deduction was a better deal than itemizing and taking the mortgage interest deduction, and so the CPA used the standard deduction. He never saved a penny from all that mortgage interest.

I'm pretty sure my dad never actually looked at the tax return numbers. He was happy believing that he got a break.

jimnjana 02-12-2011 11:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M Paquette (Post 1036102)
I think far fewer people benefit from the mortgage interest deduction than believe they do.

That's a fact. A fairer way to reward home ownership using the tax code would be to simply have a tax credit that would be phased out at some income level that would be based on the property tax value of the home or property.

samclem 02-12-2011 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimnjana (Post 1036240)
A fairer way to reward home ownership using the tax code would be to simply have a tax credit that would be phased out at some income level that would be based on the property tax value of the home or property.

Fairer still: The government could get out of the business of "encouraging" home ownership. Their efforts to goose home prices with tax deductions, low interest rates, and unrealistically low down payment requirements helped build the bubble and crash for which we'll be paying a long time.

Mulligan 02-12-2011 12:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Telly (Post 1036097)
A couple months ago I remember reading a Scott Burns column in the newspaper that the effect on most people wouldn't be that bad, and why.

I found the article on his website:

Would You Miss the Mortgage Interest Deduction? - Registered Investment Advisor

While I wont disagree with the premise, it would hurt someone like me. Single, with a mortgage payment. Taking the standard for a single is about $5800 or so. By itemizing, Im near $12000 in total deductions. So it would tax me an extra $1500 or so. Down the road it wouldnt matter, as my interest amounts decrease. If i was married, it would be of little, help,too. Unless of course she demanded a bigger more expensive house to move into:)

Gone4Good 02-12-2011 12:15 PM

I'll go so far as to say the home mortgage deduction helps no one (or almost no one).

Everyone considering buying a house works out their monthly payment, and almost everyone incorporates the tax benefits into an estimate of what they can afford. If a tax break allows everyone to buy more house, nearly everyone will. As a result, housing prices should increase by roughly the present value of the interest rate deduction benefit. This won't be a dollar for dollar offset, but it significantly offsets any benefit to homeowners.

If you follow the dollars carefully, you'll find the beneficiary of the mortgage deduction isn't the borrower who gets the credit, but the mortgage lender. The home owner pays more for his house than he would without the deduction, and borrows more for the purchase. The tax savings of the borrow mostly flow to the lender in the form of higher interest payments.

It should be phased out completely.

Independent 02-12-2011 01:33 PM

I believe that eliminating the mortgage deduction was included in the Simpson/Bowles deficit reduction proposal. A poll on this board had something like 90% of the responders supporting that proposal.

Some might have preferred to salvage the mortgage interest deduction as a stand alone item, but were willing to give it up as part of a comprehensive tax reform package.

In minimally related news, the administration has released a study on Fannie and Freddie. It has three options, but they all point to less gov't involvement in housing. Treasury Report Calls for Winding Down Fannie, Freddie - Bloomberg

meierlde 02-12-2011 11:10 PM

Now for a radical propsal do like they used to do in the UK, add the imputed rent to the house to your income and treat the place like a rental for tax purposes (i.e. depreciate it, and full expense deductions including insurance). You would invent a statutory rent something like 1/240 of the value of the place per month or 1/20 per year. Then you take off the expenses for the house like a landlord would, including a 3.6 % depreciation deduction, taxes insurance and the like. Then add capital improvements to the house and depreciate them. Then when the house is sold you pay long term gains on the difference between the price and the depreciated value.
Its a wild proposal but essentially becomes completly neutral as to owning versus renting. (Note that the effective imputed rent would be about 1.5% after the depreciation)

chinaco 02-13-2011 04:20 AM

Whatever the approach.... there will be higher taxes for next 30 years!

REWahoo 02-13-2011 04:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chinaco (Post 1036474)
Whatever the approach.... there will be higher taxes forever next 30 years!

Fixed it for ya...

GregLee 02-13-2011 06:41 AM

The deduction never did me much good, since after the first 2 years of my mortgage, I could no longer find enough deductibles to get above the standard deduction. Comes of excessive frugality. On the policy question, I have a libertarian slant: let the government get out of the business of encouraging home ownership, horses, children, or anything whatever. It's no proper business of government. Eliminate all deductions.

missionfinder 02-13-2011 09:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GregLee (Post 1036493)
The deduction never did me much good, since after the first 2 years of my mortgage, I could no longer find enough deductibles to get above the standard deduction. Comes of excessive frugality. On the policy question, I have a libertarian slant: let the government get out of the business of encouraging home ownership, horses, children, or anything whatever. It's no proper business of government. Eliminate all deductions.

I go even farther and say eliminate the income tax, and replace it with the Fair Tax.

Mulligan 02-13-2011 09:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GregLee (Post 1036493)
The deduction never did me much good, since after the first 2 years of my mortgage, I could no longer find enough deductibles to get above the standard deduction. Comes of excessive frugality. On the policy question, I have a libertarian slant: let the government get out of the business of encouraging home ownership, horses, children, or anything whatever. It's no proper business of government. Eliminate all deductions.

+1 to the above. Especially the children. It seems like the government wants people who cant afford children, to have more of them! Its gotten to the point that you need to be very rich or very poor to have children. Just my opinion.

photoguy 02-13-2011 09:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gone4Good (Post 1036262)
I'll go so far as to say the home mortgage deduction helps no one (or almost no one).

Everyone considering buying a house works out their monthly payment, and almost everyone incorporates the tax benefits into an estimate of what they can afford. If a tax break allows everyone to buy more house, nearly everyone will. As a result, housing prices should increase by roughly the present value of the interest rate deduction benefit. This won't be a dollar for dollar offset, but it significantly offsets any benefit to homeowners.

I agree with your reasoning that people buying now gain no real benefit from the mortgage deduction since prices are raised in response. However, to remove it now would certainly hurt those who already own a home.

haha 02-13-2011 10:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by photoguy (Post 1036568)
I agree with your reasoning that people buying now gain no real benefit from the mortgage deduction since prices are raised in response. However, to remove it now would certainly hurt those who already own a home.

Not to mention the enormous US property transaction market. I believe that these people are strong enough to fend off any important changes to the mortgage deduction for a very long while.

Ha

FIRE'd@51 02-13-2011 11:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gone4Good (Post 1036262)
Everyone considering buying a house works out their monthly payment, and almost everyone incorporates the tax benefits into an estimate of what they can afford. If a tax break allows everyone to buy more house, nearly everyone will. As a result, housing prices should increase by roughly the present value of the interest rate deduction benefit. This won't be a dollar for dollar offset, but it significantly offsets any benefit to homeowners.

While I think this analysis is probably correct, I can't believe the government would do anything to further depress real estate prices at this time. If anything, they want housing prices to increase.

East Texas 02-13-2011 11:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by missionfinder (Post 1036541)
I go even farther and say eliminate the income tax, and replace it with the Fair Tax.

Yep.

I haven't have a mortgage in years and couldn't get on a Schedule A for years before that and I did just fine. The reason I did just fine was because I bought a house I could afford without depending on the government's tax whims.

scrabbler1 02-13-2011 11:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mulligan (Post 1036552)
+1 to the above. Especially the children. It seems like the government wants people who cant afford children, to have more of them! Its gotten to the point that you need to be very rich or very poor to have children. Just my opinion.

+1 to this. Throughout the tax code there is a huge subsidy to those with children from those without children. And all it is is a lifestyle choice.


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