Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year you know that some major changes to our tax code in the United States is becoming law in 2018. There seems to be a lot of confusion out there as to what changes are real and how they will change the way you handle your expenses and tax bill in the future. At PDX Urban we can't speak to all the changes in the new tax code, but we have of course been educating ourselves on how the new law will effect home owners.
Fortunately with the median home price in Portland being about $400,000 and the average property taxes in the range of $4,000 per year, the new law doesn't have a large impact on most average home owners in the Portland metro area. However, it never hurts to be up to date on tax codes when you own property so you can best decide how to leverage what is often your biggest asset - your home.
1. Mortgage Interest Deduction
The mortgage interest tax deduction is traditionally a way to make homeownership more affordable. It cuts the federal income tax that qualifying homeowners pay by reducing their taxable income by the amount of mortgage interest they pay. Beginning in 2018, the deduction is scaled back to interest on debt up to $750,000, instead of $1 million, for people who buy homes on or after December 15th 2017.
Tax Law Through 2017: You may deduct the interest you pay on mortgage debt up to $1 million ($500,000 if married filing separately) on your primary home and a second home.
Tax Law Beginning in 2018: Form homes bought before December 15th, 2017, no change. But for homes bought December 15th 2017 or later you may deduct the interest you pay on mortgage debt up to $750,000 ($375,000 if married filing separately).
2. Property Tax Deduction
The former tax law eased the pain of paying property taxes by allowing qualifying taxpayers to reduce their taxable income by the total amount of property taxes they paid. Beginning in 2018, the deduction is limited to a total of $10,000 for the cost of property taxes, and state and local income taxes or sales taxes.
Tax Law Through 2017: You may deduct the property taxes you pay on real estate you own.
Tax Law Beginning in 2018: You may deduct up to $10,000 ($5,000 if married filing separately) for a combination of property taxes and either state and local income taxes or sales taxes.
3. Home Equity Deduction
On top of the mortgage interest deduction, the former tax law added a deduction for interest paid on home equity debt "for reasons other than to buy, build, or substantially improve your home." So, for example, if you borrowed from a home equity line of credit to pay tuition, the interest you paid was tax-deductible. Starting in 2018, the deduction is eliminated for interest paid on home equity debt.
Tax Law Through 2017: You may deduct interest on up to $100,000 of home equity debt ($50,000 if married filing separately).
Tax Law Beginning in 2018: Eliminates the deduction for interest on home equity debt.
4. Mortgage Interest Deduction for Second Homes
You may deduct interest on mortgage debt on your primary home and a second home. The new law keeps this part of the former tax law in place, although it reduces the amount of eligible mortgage debt, as seen in item No. 1 above.
Tax Law Through 2017: Same as item No. 1 above.
Tax Law Through 2018: Same as item No. 1 above.