Top Frequently Asked Questions for Itemized Deductions, Standard Deduction


No. While you must deduct the points over the life of the loan ratably (equally), you don't divide the points by 30 years. Instead, you divide the points by the number of payments scheduled over the term of the loan (360 monthly payments in the case of a 30-year mortgage) and deduct points each year according to the number of payments you made in that year (less than twelve payments in some cases).

  • If the loan ends prematurely, for example, because you paid it off or refinanced with a different lender, then the remaining points are deductible in that year.
    • Note: this does not apply to loans refinanced with the same lender.
  • Any deductible points not included on Form 1098 (usually not included on the Form when refinancing) should be entered on Schedule A (Form 1040), Itemized Deductions, line 8c "Points not reported to you on Form 1098."


No. Your parents cannot claim the deduction for student loan interest on their tax return because you were not their dependent at the time they took out a student loan for you. However, you can claim, subject to certain limitations, the deduction with respect to the loan that you took out for yourself (assuming that you meet the other requirements for this deduction).


  • If you and your spouse file separate returns and one of you itemizes deductions, then the other spouse must also itemize deductions. You may be able to claim itemized deductions on a separate return for certain expenses that you paid separately or jointly with your spouse. When you pay expenses from your separate funds, then only you may deduct them.
    • For example, if you pay otherwise deductible medical expenses from your separate account (or in a community property state, from an account that's your separate property under the laws of that state) then only you may claim a deduction for the expenses.
  • When expenses are paid from funds owned by both spouses, such as from a joint checking account in which each spouse has an equal interest (or from an account considered community property under the laws of the state in which the spouses reside) you should generally split the deduction equally between you and your spouse.
    • For example, if mortgage interest, on a residence both you and your spouse own, is paid from a joint checking account in which you both have an equal interest, then each spouse may deduct half of the interest expense.
    • However, if only one spouse is eligible to deduct an expense (for example, real property taxes on property owned only by that spouse), then only that spouse may deduct the expense even if it was paid from joint funds in which each spouse had an equal interest. Each spouse must maintain records documenting who is considered to have paid the expense.


The cost of a personal computer is generally a personal expense that's not deductible. However, you may be able to claim an American opportunity tax credit for the amount paid to buy a computer if you need a computer to attend your university.  For more information, refer to Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education and Qualified Education Expenses.


It depends.

For tax years 2018 through 2025, if home equity loans or lines of credit secured by your main home or second home are used to buy, build, or substantially improve the residence, interest you pay on the borrowed funds is classified as home acquisition debt and may be deductible, subject to certain dollar limitations. However, interest on the same debt used to pay personal living expenses, such as credit card debts, is not deductible.

For tax years before 2018 and after 2025, for home equity loans or lines of credit secured by your main home or second home, interest you pay on the borrowed funds may be deductible, subject to certain dollar limitations, regardless of how you use the loan proceeds. For example, if you use a home equity loan or a line of credit to pay personal living expenses, such as credit card debts, you may be able to deduct the interest paid.


To deduct taxes or interest on Schedule A (Form 1040), Itemized Deductions, you generally must be legally obligated to pay the expense and must have paid the expense during the year. If you’re each eligible to deduct the expenses, you can both take a deduction for your portion of the expenses. Even though two unmarried individuals who are jointly and severally liable to pay the mortgage interest and property taxes on a jointly owned house can pay the mortgage from their joint account in which they have an equal interest, the lender normally sends out only one Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement to one of the two legal owners. Additionally, the local taxing authority may also only provide a receipt in one owner's name.

Since your housemate and you each paid one-half of the mortgage interest and real property taxes, each of you should deduct one-half of these expenses. Individuals deduct these expenses as itemized deductions on Schedule A of their Forms 1040. Claim your deduction on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 8a, as “Home mortgage interest and points reported to you on Form 1098.” Your housemate, who didn’t receive a Form 1098, must list the amount of mortgage interest on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 8b, as “Home mortgage interest not reported to you on Form 1098” and must list your name and address as the person who received a Form 1098 reporting the interest your housemate paid. If your housemate files a paper return, your housemate should include an attachment to the paper return and print “See attached” to the right of line 8b. The attachment to the paper return should include your name and address and an explanation of how much interest each of you paid.

Taxpayers are responsible for determining the amount of mortgage interest that is and is not deductible. You and your housemate should keep records showing when you acquired your mortgage, how you used the mortgage proceeds, and how you split the mortgage interest and real property taxes. In general, you should keep your records for at least three calendar years after the later of the return filing date or the return due date. See Publication 936, Home Mortgage Interest Deduction for further information and for rules on the amount of mortgage and home equity loan interest that you may deduct within a taxable year.


Yes and maybe.

Mortgage interest paid on a second residence used personally is deductible as long as the mortgage satisfies the same requirements for deductible interest as on a primary residence.

If the home was acquired on or before December 15, 2017, then the total amount you (or your spouse if married filing a joint return) can treat as home acquisition debt on your main and second home is $1,000,000; or $500,000 if married filing separately. If the home was acquired after December 15, 2017, the home acquisition debt limit is $750,000; or $375,000 if married filing separately.

State and local real property taxes are generally deductible.

  • Deductible real property taxes include any state or local taxes based on the value of the real property and levied for the general public welfare.
  • Deductible real property taxes don't include taxes charged for local benefits and improvements that directly increase the value of the real property, such as assessments for sidewalks, water mains, sewer lines, parking lots, and similar improvements.
  • Also, an itemized charge for services to specific property or people isn't a real property tax, even if the charge is paid to the taxing authority. You can't deduct the charge as a real property tax when it's a unit fee for the delivery of a service (such as a $5 fee charged for every 1,000 gallons of water you use), a periodic charge for a residential service (such as a $20 per month or $240 annual fee charged for trash collection), or a flat fee charged for a single service provided by your local government (such as a $30 charge for mowing your lawn because it had grown higher than permitted under a local ordinance).
  • The total deduction allowed for all state and local taxes (for example, real property taxes, personal property taxes, and income taxes or sales taxes) is limited to $10,000; or $5,000 if married filing separately.

Renting out your second residence - If you do rent out your second residence, and you use it personally, additional rules may impact the deductibility of mortgage interest and real property taxes. Please see the publications listed below for additional information.


Recordkeeping and filing requirements depend on the amount you claim for the deduction.

1) If the deduction you claim for the car is at least $250 but not more than $500, you'll need a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the charity. You must obtain the acknowledgment by the date you file your return for the donation year or by the return due date with extensions, whichever is earlier. The acknowledgment must include:

  • The name of the charitable organization.
  • The date and location of the charitable contribution.
  • A detailed description of the car.
  • Whether the charity provided you with any goods or services in return for the car and a description and good faith estimate of the value of any goods and services received.
  • If the charity provided solely intangible religious benefits, a statement to that effect.

Don't attach the written acknowledgment to your return. Instead, keep it with your records to substantiate your donation.

2) If the deduction you claim for the car is more than $500, the contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the charity must be timely, must be attached to your return, and must include all of the information listed in (1) above, plus the following additional information:

  • Your name and taxpayer identification number (TIN).
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • Beyond the above items, what the written acknowledgment must contain depends on what the charity does with the vehicle. If the charity sells the vehicle, the written acknowledgment must contain the date the car was sold by the charity, a certification that the charity sold the car in an arm’s length transaction between unrelated parties, the gross proceeds of the sale, and a statement that your deduction may not exceed the gross proceeds of the sale.

You must generally receive the written acknowledgment within 30 days of the sale of the car or, in certain circumstances, within 30 days of your donation, for the acknowledgment to be considered timely.  The charity may provide you a completed Form 1098-C, Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes, which contains the same information, in lieu of the written statement.

You must also complete Section A of Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions and attach both the written acknowledgment and this form to your return.


Yes, in certain instances nursing home expenses are deductible medical expenses.

  • If you, your spouse, or your dependent is in a nursing home primarily for medical care, then the entire nursing home cost (including meals and lodging) is deductible as a medical expense.
  • If that individual is in a home primarily for non-medical reasons, then only the cost of the actual medical care is deductible as a medical expense, not the cost of the meals and lodging.
  • To determine if your father qualifies as your dependent for this purpose, refer to Whose Medical Expenses Can You Include and Nursing Home in Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.
  • Deduct medical expenses on Schedule A (Form 1040), Itemized Deductions.
  • The total amount of all allowable medical expenses is the amount of such expenses that exceeds 7.5% of adjusted gross income.

Frequently Asked Question Subcategories for Itemized Deductions, Standard Deduction