Home mortgage provides array of tax breaks

Rules on deducting loan interest, points

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If you feel better knowing you can deduct the mortgage-interest portion of your huge annual housing expenses, make sure you know exactly how much you can deduct. One of the more popular topics I've had with accountants this year is regarding mortgage interest. You can deduct only interest on the original amount of the loan at the time you refinance, plus $100,000. For example, let's say you purchased your home 10 years ago for $100,000 and took out a loan for $80,000. Since then, you have paid the loan down to $20,000. The house is now worth $275,000 and your oldest child needs college tuition. The house definitely has equity to tap, but your mortgage interest deduction would be limited to the first $120,000 ($20,000 old loan at the time of "refi," plus $100,000). It is important to remember that home-loan-interest deductions simply reduce your taxable income. They are not dollar-for-dollar tax credits that are subtracted from your tax bill. If you have a $1,000-a-month mo...