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Mortgage-interest tax break denied

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Editor's note: Robert Bruss is temporarily away. The following column from Bruss' "Best of" collection first appeared Sunday, April 2, 2006. DEAR BOB: Last year, my wife and I loaned our daughter and son-in-law the money they needed to buy their first home. We weren't earning much on the money and they offered to pay us 5 percent interest. It was a good deal for them and a good deal for us. They faithfully pay us the monthly interest and principal. However, when they had their income taxes prepared, their tax adviser told them that the approximately $32,000 of interest they paid us in 2005 is not tax-deductible because it is an unsecured loan, which is not recorded against their title. Please tell us this isn't true. --Gregg G. DEAR GREGG: Their tax adviser is correct. For your daughter and son-in-law to deduct the interest payments paid to you as itemized home mortgage interest, the loan obligation must be secured by a recorded mortgage or deed of trust against t...