Mortgage Interest Deductions: Should They Be Eliminated?

Since before I owned or started selling real estate, the mortgage interest deduction has existed and been one of the main benefits espoused for buying a home.  In addition to building up equity, it has been argued that this is one of the deductions that is helpful for lowering taxes due, especially for individuals and couples with few other tax deductions.

The mortgage interest deduction was one of the items recommended be trimmed, to help control the national debt, by President Obama’s deficit-reduction commission last December.  The panel addressed the interest deduction for first and second mortgages and equity lines of credit.  Other real estate targets included in the were tax write-offs for property taxes paid and the capital gains exclusions ($250,000 and $500,000) for individual and married taxpayers who make a profit when they sell their residence.

As a homeowner, Realtor, and real estate investor, I want to keep all of these deductions.  However, there are some I would be willing to live without in exchange for decreasing the national debt.  I would be willing to forgo the mortgage interest on second homes and on equity lines of credit to keep the deduction on primary home interest, capital gains exclusion and property tax write off?  What do you think?  Are there any you would be willing to give up?  If so, which ones?

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Jennifer Wollmann


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