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Deducting Costs Associated with Refinancing a Mortgage Loan

Now more than ever, homeowners are taking advantage of historically low interest rates and refinancing their mortgage loans. Did you pay points to your lender when you refinanced your loan? If so, you may be able to deduct them.

Points are costs that a lender charges when you take out a mortgage loan or refinance an existing mortgage loan on your home. One point equals 1% of the loan amount borrowed (e.g., 2 points on a $300,000 loan equals $6,000).

In order for points to be deductible, they must have been charged by your lender as up-front interest in return for a lower interest rate on your loan. If the points were charged for services provided by the lender in preparing or processing the loan, then the points are not deductible.

When deducting points, keep in mind that unlike points paid on a loan used to purchase a home, points paid on a refinanced loan usually cannot be deducted in the year that you paid them. Instead, the points may need to be amortized over the life of the loan.

For example, assume that you refinanced to a $300,000/30-year mortgage loan and paid $6,000 in points. You would be able to deduct 1/30 of those points each year over the 30-year loan period, or $200 per year.

The one exception to the amortization rule is if part of your refinanced loan is used to make improvements to your primary residence. In that case, you may be able to deduct the portion of the points that is allocable to the home improvements in the year that the points are paid. In addition, if you choose to refinance again or sell your home in the future, you can generally claim the entire unamortized deduction that remains. For more information on the deductibility of points, you can refer to IRS Publication 936.

As for other costs you may have incurred from refinancing, such as recording, title search, appraisal, and attorney's fees, they are not deductible. Furthermore, unlike costs associated with a home purchase, costs associated with a refinance cannot be added into the cost basis (value) of your home for income tax purposes.

The Potential Benefits of Refinancing Your Mortgage 

mortgage chart

This is a hypothetical example and does not reflect all of the costs that may be associated with refinancing. Actual results may vary.