Revenooer Rants: Who deducts the interest?
Special to the Bonanza
So let’s say you are an unmarried couple and are jointly and severally liable on a mortgage, and the bank issues a Form 1098 under only one social security number.
The payments on the loan have been made from a joint account or from the separate funds of either person. Who deducts?
According to recent guidance from the Revenooers, since both taxpayers are liable on the mortgage, both are entitled to claim the mortgage interest deduction to the extent of the mortgage interest paid by either of them.
If the interest is paid from separate funds, each taxpayer may claim the deduction amount paid from each one’s separate funds.
If the interest is paid from a joint account in which each has an equal interest, it would be presumed that each has paid an equal amount absent evidence to the contrary.
But what about the case in which various combinations of relatives co-own a house and are liable on a mortgage?
Again, assume the bank issues Form 1098 under the name and social security number of one of the co-obligors. Same result: each co-owner can deduct the amount they actually paid.
And speaking of payments, watch out if you’re an estate executor and make some distributions to beneficiaries without understanding and considering the rights of estate creditors.
If estate assets are insufficient to pay the decedent’s estate, gift or income taxes, you, my friend, may be held personally liable, and will not be happy when the Revenooers lien other property which you may own.
And get out your crying towel as we pass on some of the bad news imparted by IRS Commish Koskinen, this week, in a missive to IRS employees. Among other things, Koskinen tells the folks:
The 2015 IRS budget will reflect the lowest level of IRS funding since 2008.
“Realistically we have no choice but to do less with less.” (What?)
New taxpayer protections against identity theft will be delayed.
Aging IT systems will not be replaced.
Reduced staffing in enforcement will result in at least 46,000 fewer individual and business audit closures and more than 280,000 fewer Automated Collection System and Field Collection case closures.
As a result of the hiring freeze, we will lose about 1,800 enforcement personnel through attrition during FY 2015.
There will be growing inventories in Accounts Management, and taxpayer correspondence will face lengthy delays. (What else is new?)
We now anticipate an even lower level of telephone service than before? (Somehow we missed out on all of that previous “service” to which the Commish alludes!)
We need to plan for the possibility of a shutdown of IRS operations for two days later this fiscal year. (Two more holidays – that’s all we need.)
CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISER – This article contains general information about various tax matters. You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation. Jeff Quinn is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno. He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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