A last-minute, money-saving tax change could be awaiting young homeowners and others who made a low down payment — so watch out for the paperwork.
Homeowners who pay private mortgage insurance — or what’s known as PMI — recently began receiving amended 1098 — Mortgage Interest Statement from their mortgage lenders.
Getting a new notice late in the tax season is confusing. But it’s essential to realize that amended form could offer a gateway to a bigger refund on 2017 federal income tax returns, if you qualify and you itemize deductions.
What’s confusing is that the tax deduction involving mortgage insurance officially ended in 2016. But it came back from the dead for 2017, along with some other breaks on Feb. 9 with the passage of a bipartisan budget act. These so-called extender breaks are only good, retroactively, for 2017 returns.
So that’s why you’re getting such late paperwork — and why you want to pay attention.
About 4 million tax filers claimed this deduction on Schedule A of their 2015 returns, the last data available, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The deduction added up to about $6.3 billion in tax breaks.
What should I do if I get this revised 1098?
If you already filed your taxes, you could want to amend your income tax return. The deduction wasn’t available when the filing season began Jan. 29. And the IRS didn’t release updated forms after the budget act was passed until Feb. 22.
But if you only began working on your return in early March, you’re likely covered. Check the copy of your 2017 tax return on Schedule A.
“If you came in the last week or two, you would have gotten the extender if you qualified for it,” said Jackie Perlman, a tax research analyst at H&R Block’s Tax Institute.
If you’re doing your taxes now, look at any amended 1098 for complete tax information.
Am I guaranteed to save money on my tax bill now?
No. Not everyone who pays private mortgage insurance will benefit. Some taxpayers use the standard deduction and do not itemize, so they cannot deduct mortgage insurance premiums. Others may have too high of an income to qualify for the deduction related to PMI.
The tax break relating to premiums paid for mortgage insurance is generally claimed by low- and middle-income filers, according to the IRS.
The deduction is phased out completely if your adjusted gross income is $109,001 or more (or $54,501 or more if married filing separately). See instructions for Schedule A.
Another tip: If the amount on Form 1040, line 38, is more than $100,000 ($50,000 if married filing separately), your deduction will be reduced and you must use the Mortgage Insurance Premiums Deduction Worksheet to figure your deduction.
Mortgage insurance premiums can be treated on 2017 returns as qualified residence interest, generally claimed on Schedule A. See Line 13 under the category “Interest You Paid.”
What kind of paperwork do I look for now?
Keep an eye out for an amended 1098. If you didn’t make a large down payment when you bought your home — say 20% or more — you’re likely paying private mortgage insurance.
The updated statement shows what you paid for mortgage insurance premiums in 2017 in Box 5.
Mat Ishbia, president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, said the company sent out nearly 40,000 notices to inform borrowers of the important tax change. United Wholesale Mortgage, a division of Troy-based United Shore Financial Services, alerted its network of mortgage broker partners throughout the country to alert borrowers.
Other lenders have alerted customers about amended 1098 forms that are on the way.
A revised 1098 with the mortgage insurance amount included in Box 5 was to be mailed by March 15 to Flagstar Bank customers affected by the extension of the tax provision, according to Susan E. Bergesen, corporate communications specialist at Flagstar.
She said the majority of Flagstar customers affected were sent an e-mail to alert them that they would be receiving a corrected 1098 from Flagstar and why.
Quicken Loans sent a detailed e-mail to every client impacted by the change explaining the new tax law and its potential impact on their tax situation. The following week, clients were sent an updated 1098 statement with a cover letter explaining why homeowners were receiving the document, according to Nicole Beattie, Quicken Loans Vice President of Mortgage Servicing.
Credit unions, such as Plymouth-based Community Financial Credit Union, have been communicating with borrowers, too, regarding the changes in the tax code relating to mortgage insurance premiums.