The term points is used to describe certain charges paid to obtain a home mortgage. Points are prepaid interest and may be deductible as home mortgage interest, if you itemize deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A, Itemized Deductions (PDF). If you can deduct all of the interest on your mortgage, you may be able to deduct all of the points paid on the mortgage. If your home acquisition debt exceeds the limit for your filing status, you won’t be able to deduct all of the mortgage interest and points. See Publication 936, Home Mortgage Interest Deduction to figure your deductible points in that case. Refer to Topic No. 505 and Can I Deduct My Mortgage-Related Expenses? for more information on deducting mortgage interest and points.
Points are allowed to be deducted ratably over the life of the loan or in the year that they were paid. You can deduct the points in full in the year you pay them, if you meet all the following requirements:
- Your main home secures your loan (your main home is the one you live in most of the time).
- Paying points is an established business practice in the area where the loan was made.
- The points paid weren't more than the amount generally charged in that area.
- You use the cash method of accounting. This means you report income in the year you receive it and deduct expenses in the year you pay them.
- The points paid weren't for items that are usually listed separately on the settlement sheet such as appraisal fees, inspection fees, title fees, attorney fees, and property taxes.
- The funds you provided at or before closing, including any points the seller paid, were at least as much as the points charged. You can't have borrowed the funds from your lender or mortgage broker in order to pay the points.
- You use your loan to buy or build your main home.
- The points were computed as a percentage of the principal amount of the mortgage, and
- The amount shows clearly as points on your settlement statement.
You can also fully deduct (in the year paid) points paid on a loan to improve your main home if you meet tests one through six above.
Points that don't meet these requirements may be deducted ratably over the life of the loan. You can deduct points paid for refinancing generally only over the life of the new mortgage. However, if you use part of the refinanced mortgage proceeds to improve your main home and you meet the first six requirements stated above, you can fully deduct the part of the points related to the improvement in the year you paid them with your own funds. You can deduct the rest of the points over the life of the loan.
Points charged for specific services, such as preparation costs for a mortgage note, appraisal fees, or notary fees aren't interest and can't be deducted. Points paid by the seller of a home can't be deducted as interest on the seller's return, but they're a selling expense that will reduce the amount of gain realized. The buyer may deduct points paid by the seller, provided the buyer subtracts the amount from the basis or cost of the residence. You can only deduct points you pay on loans secured by your second home over the life of the loan.
For more information on points, refer to Publication 936, Home Mortgage Interest Deduction and Publication 530, Tax Information for New Homeowners.