Can I deduct the foreign mortgage interest I pay on my home overseas?
Is Foreign Mortgage Interest Deductible?
We often receive the question as to whether mortgage interest on a foreign residence is deductible. The good news is that it can be deductible.
In fact, the rules for foreign mortgage interest deductions are the same as the rules for a residence in the U.S.
According to IRS Publication 936, qualified foreign mortgage interest is as follows:
- Incurring debt to acquire, construct or substantially improve the taxpayer’s main or second home, and
- Debt that is secured by the home
Mortgage interest is deducted on your Schedule A along with other itemized deductions, such as charitable contributions, unreimbursed employee expenses and so forth.
As a taxpayer, you have the option of choosing the standard deduction or itemized deduction; generally you will choose whichever amount is higher.
Frequently, the foreign mortgage interest is enough to propel your itemized deductions into exceeding the standard deduction. Thereby allowing you to claim your itemized deductions on Schedule A.
However, if the total of your itemized deductions including foreign mortgage interest are lower than the standard deduction, you will not benefit from the mortgage interest deduction.
What Is Secured Debt?
It is secure debt if you sign an instrument such as a mortgage, land contract or deed of trust and your home is collateral to protect the lender.
Additionally, if you are unable to pay your debt, the home would serve as payment to the lender to pay the debt.
How much foreign mortgage interest can I deduct?
You can deduct home mortgage interest on the first $750,000 ($375,000 if married filing separately) of indebtedness. However, higher limitations may apply if you are deducting mortgage interest from indebtedness incurred before December 16, 2017. If this is the case, the first $1 million ($500,000 if married filing separately) of indebtedness applies.
What Is A Qualified Home?
A home includes a house, condominium, cooperative, mobile home, house trailer, boat or similar property that has sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities.
If you have a main home in the United Kingdom and a second home in the United States, the fact that your main home is located in the United Kingdom and not the United States will have no effect on whether you have qualified mortgage expense.
It does not matter where you obtain the mortgage. The IRS Code does not distinguish between domestic or foreign homes or mortgages.
As long as you meet the definition included within IRS Publication 936, the interest paid on the mortgage would be deductible just as it would in the U.S.
However, you must convert interest payments from the foreign currency to U.S. dollars using a standard currency conversion method. As a client of Tax Samaritan, we have a “let’s make things easier for you” approach and take care of all currency conversions on your behalf.
Can I Deduct Real Estate Taxes?
Unfortunately, unlike U.S. property, real estate taxes paid on your residence in a foreign country is not deductible.
The tax rules for Americans living overseas can be unique and sometimes complex. Other times like with foreign mortgage interest the tax rules are the same.
Before proceeding, it is best to consult with a tax professional well versed in the tax rules for expatriates.