The Obama administration proposes to raise $291 billion over the next decade by reducing the amount by which wealthy families can cut their tax bills by claiming itemized deductions for mortgage interest payments and other write-offs.

The Obama administration tried and failed to implement a similar change in last year’s budget, after running into opposition from interest groups ranging from mortgage lenders to charities that benefit from the taxpayers’ ability to claim such itemized deductions.

Currently, individuals with incomes above $200,000 and families with incomes above $250,000 can lower their taxes by an amount equal to as much as 39.6 percent of their itemized deductions. The Obama administration wants to lower the cap to 28 percent — the level in place at the end of the Reagan administration.

Because families in lower tax brackets don’t benefit as much from itemized deductions, the system in place now provides a disproportionate benefit to the wealthy, the administration said in its proposed budget.

"Currently, if a middle-class family donates a dollar to its favorite charity or spends a dollar on mortgage interest, it gets a 15-cent tax deduction, but a millionaire who does the same enjoys a deduction that is more than twice as generous," the Obama administration said.

The Mortgage Bankers Association issued a statement claiming the proposed tax increase would have a negative impact on housing markets by increasing the cost of mortgages for many potential homeowners, especially in high-cost states like California and New York.

The MBA also expressed disappointment that the budget "did not offer any indications of the administration’s plans for the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."

The MBA "strongly supports" a proposed $18 million increase in the Federal Housing Administration’s budget to implement improved risk management systems, $20 million earmarked for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to combat predatory lending and mortgage fraud.


What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription