How does the 2018 Tax Reform affect your Mortgage Interest Deduction?

The 2018 Tax Reform Bill brings with it many changes. In the Divorce World, the major change will be that alimony/maintenance is no longer tax deductible in the future.

This specific change may even have a greater affect on divorcing spouses where real estate and mortgage financing are involved. Unfortunately the changes where mortgage financing is involved may not have a positive effect.

Now it is even more important than ever to have a Certified Divorce Lending Professional (CDLP) on your professional divorce team to help identify obstacles and provide guidance to your divorcing clients.

The Top Two Changes to watch out for:

  1. Potential Loss of Mortgage Interest Deduction in Divorce Situations
  2. Difficulty in Qualifying for a Mortgage for Paying Spouses

The extent of the effects of the Tax Reform Bill is not yet completely known for the mortgage industry at this time. Mortgage underwriting guidelines will soon be modified to take into account the effects of the loss of the alimony tax deduction.

Let’s take a deeper look into the Top Two Changes and how they will affect your divorcing clients.

The 2018 Tax Reform Bill has reduced the maximum loan amount on acquisition debt from $1,000,000 to $750,000. This means that mortgage interest on loan amounts up to $750,000 used to purchase or significantly improve the home is tax deductible under the acquisition debt category. Mortgage interest on loan amounts above the $750,000 limit will no longer be tax deductible.

The bigger issue for divorcing clients is when one spouse is ordered to pay the current mortgage on the marital home and is in return allowed to deduct the mortgage interest paid from his/her personal income taxes. Depending upon how ownership and title is held on the marital home may now cause a signification tax concern for the paying spouse.

Previously for divorcing homeowners who jointly owned the marital home, the spouse claiming the mortgage interest deduction was able to deduct 1/2 of the mortgage interest paid as the mortgage interest deduction and the other 1/2 as alimony/maintenance paid. (IRS Pub 504)

If alimony/maintenance paid is no longer allowed as a tax deduction for the paying spouse, what is to happen to the other 1/2 of the mortgage interest deduction? It will be very important to work closely with a tax advisor who specializes in working with divorce clients to help mitigate any negative tax consequences with regards to the mortgage interest deduction.

Caution should also be exercised when changing how ownership/title is held. Please let me know if I can provide additional information to you on the various methods for holding ownership/title on real estate and the effects that divorce can play on this topic as well.

Always work with a Certified Divorce Lending Professional (CDLP) when Divorce, Real Estate and Mortgage Financing are present. Click here to find a CDLP in your area.