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Form 1098: How to file and deduct mortgage interest (and other payments)

Form 1098: How to file and deduct mortgage interest (and other payments)
Disclaimer

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or tax advice.

Always consult with a tax professional for your specific circumstances.

As a US expat, you may have questions about this important tax form and how it affects your taxes.

Don't worry, we're here to help!

What is Form 1098: Mortgage Interest Statement

So, what is Form 1098? Essentially, it's a tax form that reports the amount of mortgage interest you paid during the tax year. If you have a mortgage on a home or other property in the US, you'll likely receive a Form 1098 from your lender.

The form itself has several boxes that report different pieces of information, including the amount of mortgage interest paid, the loan balance, and the lender's information.

NOTE! You can only deduct mortgage interest that you paid during the tax year, and only if you itemize your deductions on your tax return.

Now, you might be wondering why mortgage interest is even deductible in the first place. Well, it's because the US tax code incentivizes home ownership by allowing taxpayers to deduct the interest they pay on their mortgage.

This can help reduce your overall tax liability and put more money back in your pocket.

How does Form 1098 affect my taxes?

Now that we've got the basics of Form 1098 down, let's talk about how it affects your taxes.

If you're a homeowner with a mortgage on your property, you'll likely receive this form from your lender. Basically, Form 1098 tells you how much mortgage interest you paid during the year.

And guess what? You can use that information to lower your tax bill!

Here's how it works: the mortgage interest deduction is one of those tax perks that you can use to reduce your taxable income. But hold your horses, you can only use it if it makes sense to itemize your deductions instead of taking the standard deduction.

For the 2024 tax year, the standard deduction is:

  • $14,600 for individuals
  • $29,200 for married couples filing jointly
  • $21,900 for heads of household

So, if your total itemized deductions, including mortgage interest, are less than the standard deduction, it may not make sense to itemize. But if your itemized deductions add up to more than the standard deduction, then go ahead and itemize to get the most tax benefits.

But wait, there's more! There are limits to the mortgage interest deduction that you should keep in mind. 

If your mortgage was taken out after December 15, 2017, you can only deduct interest on up to $750,000 of mortgage debt. And if your mortgage was taken out before that date, the limit is $1 million.

One more thing: if you're subject to the alternative minimum tax (AMT), you may not be able to take the full amount of the mortgage interest deduction. The AMT is a separate tax calculation that limits certain deductions and exemptions, so you might not get the full benefit of the deduction if you're subject to it.

Who can file Form 1098?

Alright, so we've talked about how you can score some sweet tax savings with Form 1098, but who's even eligible to file this bad boy?

Well, if you paid $600 or more in mortgage interest to a lender throughout the year, then your lender is required to send you a Form 1098.

But don't start celebrating just yet. It's important to know that not all mortgages are eligible for the mortgage interest deduction. You can only qualify if you've got a secured debt on a qualified home, which is just fancy tax talk for your primary residence or a second home.

This could be a first or second mortgage, home equity loan, or even a line of credit.

Pro Tip. And here's a fun fact for all you US expats out there: even if you have a mortgage on a property outside the US, you may still be eligible for the mortgage interest deduction, as long as the property is considered a qualified home under IRS rules.

So, who's responsible for filing Form 1098? Well, that falls on a lender, so your main job as the borrower is to make sure to receive the form and report the information accurately on your tax return. 

NOTE! Oh, and one more thing: if you receive a Form 1098, you have to report the amount of mortgage interest on your tax return, even if you choose not to itemize your deductions.

Don't forget this part, folks – it could save you a lot of headaches later on.

How to file Form 1098: Mortgage Interest Deduction? 

Whether you're a first-time homeowner or an experienced taxpayer, understanding how to properly file this form can save you money and help ensure that you're meeting all the necessary tax requirements.

Box 1. First up, you'll need to fill out the payer's information in Box 1. This includes the name, address, and identification number (usually their Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number) of the person or entity that paid the mortgage interest to the lender.

Box 2. Next you'll find the total amount of mortgage interest paid throughout the year. This includes any prepaid interest, points, or mortgage insurance premiums you paid.

Box 3. It will list the mortgage origination date, or the date when you first took out the mortgage loan. This date can be found on your settlement statement or mortgage documents.

Box 4. Now, if you paid points to your lender in exchange for a lower interest rate on your mortgage, you'll find that info in Box 4.

This box will list the total amount of points paid in the year, along with any other loan origination fees that might qualify for the mortgage interest deduction.

Box 5. This will show the total amount of interest paid on the mortgage if the property is a second home or rental property. If the mortgage was taken out to buy, build, or improve your main home and/or a second home, then the total interest is deductible.

However, if the loan was taken out for investment purposes, then only the interest paid on that portion of the loan is deductible.

Box 6. It will list any mortgage insurance premiums you paid during the year, which may also be deductible. This can include private mortgage insurance (PMI), FHA mortgage insurance premiums, or VA funding fees.

Once you've got all the info in the right boxes, simply attach the Form 1098 to your tax return and you're good to go. Remember, accuracy is key when it comes to taxes, so double-check your work and make sure you're reporting all the necessary information correctly.

bonus - How do I get my 1098 mortgage form?

Enjoy!

Deducting mortgage interest using Form 1098

The mortgage interest deduction is a valuable tax break for homeowners that allows you to deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage loan. This can help lower your taxable income and reduce the amount of taxes you owe to the IRS.

To claim the mortgage interest deduction, you'll need to itemize your deductions on Schedule A of your tax return. You'll also need to meet certain requirements, such as having a secured debt on a qualified home and using the loan to buy, build, or improve your main home or a second home.

NOTE! Keep in mind that the mortgage interest deduction has undergone some changes in recent years, so it's important to consult with a tax professional for the most up-to-date information on eligibility and limitations.

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Other 1098 tax forms

While Form 1098 is most commonly used for reporting mortgage interest, there are other types of 1098 tax forms that serve different purposes. These include:

  • Form 1098-C: This form is used to report charitable contributions of motor vehicles, boats, and airplanes. If you donated one of these items to a qualified organization, you may be able to deduct the fair market value of the donation on your taxes.
  • Form 1098-E: If you paid $600 or more in interest on a student loan during the year, your lender is required to send you a Form 1098-E. You may be able to deduct this interest on your taxes, up to a maximum of $2,500.
  • Form 1098-T: This form is used to report tuition payments and other educational expenses. If you paid tuition for yourself or a dependent during the year, you may be eligible for education-related tax credits or deductions.

NOTE! Each of these forms has its own set of requirements and instructions, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the specifics if you need to file them.

Pro Tip. Be sure to keep track of any relevant expenses and consult with a tax professional to ensure that you're filing the correct forms and taking advantage of all available deductions and credits.

FAQ

1. What is the purpose of a 1098 tax form?

Form 1098 is used for reporting specific types of payments like mortgage interest or student loan interest to the IRS. If you've made such payments during the year, they should be reported using Form 1098.

2. Is filing Form 1098 mandatory?

Whether you need to file Form 1098 depends on your role in the transaction. If you're the payer of mortgage interest or other eligible payments, you're required to file Form 1098 with the IRS and provide a copy to the recipient.

3. What are the consequences of not filing Form 1098?

Not filing Form 1098, or filing it incorrectly, can lead to penalties and fees from the IRS. It's crucial to ensure compliance with the requirements and accuracy in reporting.

4. Who can claim deductions using Form 1098?

If you receive a Form 1098 for mortgage interest, you may claim the mortgage interest deduction on your tax return, provided you meet the eligibility criteria and opt to itemize your deductions.

Ines Zemelman, EA
Founder of TFX