Worry About Foreign Mortgage Interest Deduction? See Helpful Info

foreign mortgage interest

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, build or 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. This includes charitable contributions, unreimbursed employee expenses and so forth.

As a taxpayer, you have the option to choose between the standard 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. Hence, it allows 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 limits 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, condo, coop, 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 home in a foreign country is not deductible.

The tax rules for Americans living abroad can be unique and sometimes complex. Other times like with foreign mortgage interest the tax rules are the same.

Before you proceed, it is best to consult with a tax professional well versed in the tax rules for expats.

2 responses to “Worry About Foreign Mortgage Interest Deduction? See Helpful Info
  • Hi Randy,

    I’m filing the 2014 tax. If you could assist me it would be great. What is your charges ?

    Manoj Kumar

All About Randall Brody
Randall is the Founder of Tax Samaritan, a boutique firm specializing in the preparation of taxes and the resolution of tax problems for Americans living abroad, as well as the other unique tax issues that apply to taxpayers. Here, they help taxpayers save money on their tax returns.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *