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closing costs

When you’re filing your taxes, there’s a whole lot to consider. From figuring out who counts as a dependent to organizing your income streams, you may find the process a bit overwhelming. And if you’re a new homeowner tackling mortgage payments, there’s another key question you’ll want to know the answer to this tax season as you try to lower your tax liability: Are closing costs deductible on your recent home purchase? Below, we give you the rundown:

Simple Question: Are Closing Costs Tax-Deductible?

Simple answer: it depends. Homeowner tax deductions can be very difficult to calculate, given all the varying factors that go into the equation. So to find out whether the closing costs on your particular home purchase make the cut, check out what the IRS says in its tax deduction breakdown in Form 1040 and on its full-fledged website. As with all possible tax deductions, beyond just home-related ones, it is the responsibility of the taxpayer to report each of the taxes and fees related to the purchase as itemized deductions. Also with all possible tax deductions, your first priority is most likely to save money and earn tax advantages. For this purpose, do the groundwork: research whether taking a standard deduction versus deducting your closing costs would save you the most. Then choose accordingly.

Which Particular Closing Costs Can You Deduct?

You can’t completely deduct all the costs of closing on your house. Only a few eligble ones make the cut. The IRS denotes the following as deductible costs:

  • Sales tax issued at closing
  • Real estate taxes charged to you when you closed
  • Mortgage interest paid when cost was settled
  • Real estate taxes that were paid for by the mortgage lender
  • The interest you paid at the house’s purchase
  • Loan origination fees (a.k.a. “points”). These would be written as a percentage of the borrowed money.

Variation exists among these costs, and each house purchase carries different rules. Be sure to double check whether your needs fit with these, and reach out to your lender or advisor if you’re not sure.

Loan Origination Fees

closing costs tax-deductible

When thinking about whether closing costs are tax deductible, it’s important to understand the role of loan origination fees, or points. Lenders charge loan origination fees in return for their underwriting your mortgage. The service includes identity, credit card and paperwork verification and preparation, and it is crucial for closing on the deal. This fee will come out to about 1% of your mortgage.

Loan origination fees are important to consider, because sometimes they can be tax-deductible if you purchased your home within a year of filing the taxes. The IRS will let you deduct these fees but only for certain reasons. Those include if the loan is for your primary place of residence, if you used the loan to buy this primary residence and if you didn’t pay the loan in place of additional fees for appraising the home or paying for an attorney or property taxes.

Which Closing Costs Are Completely Non-Deductible?

Although there are some recognized loopholes—ways to get a tax-deductible status on various costs of closing on your house—there are still many costs that are strictly non-deductible. They are as follows:

  • Pre-move-in utilities charges
  • Fire and flood insurance or certificates
  • Pre-closing rent (if you moved in early)
  • Mortgage refinancing
  • Title fees
  • Real estate commissions
  • Costs of appraisal
  • Home inspections
  • Costs of reporting credit
  • Transfer taxes
  • Attorney fees

These non-deductible attributes are added to the cost of the property. You should note them on your Form 1040. For a complete list, consult the IRS tax policy list, which you can find on the agency’s website. Another important point: the higher your income, the less you can deduct from your income taxes on your Form 1040.

How to Fill Out the 1040 in Accordance with Closing Cost Deductions

It can be challenging to calculate your own homeowner tax deductions, but the IRS does a good job of breaking it down once you arrive at the 1040 Form. The only way to deduct your closing costs is to provide a list of itemized deductions. This requires a bit of forethought: you can’t take out a standard deduction while also deducting your original closing costs. Therefore, it’s up to you to pick which one offers the best tax advantages for your finances.

The Takeaway

closing costs tax-deductible

There is no clear-cut answer on whether closing costs are tax-deductible, because no two closing cost situations are the same. Depending on factors such as personal wealth, tax bracket, home cost, permanent residence location and related fees, you can be anywhere from 10% to 90% exempt. If you’re unsure of where specifically you fall on the spectrum, talk to a trained financial advisor who can help you make the important decisions while retaining as many benefits as possible. Our SmartAdvisor matching tool enables you to narrow down the pool and find a great, experienced financial advisor in your neighborhood, equipped to assist with your particular needs.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages, ©iStock.com/PeopleImages, ©iStock.com/PeopleImages

Jane Thier Jane Thier writes on a variety of personal finance topics for SmartAsset. Her expertise includes banking and mortgage. Jane is currently studying at Washington University in St. Louis and serves as editor-in-chief of Armour Magazine. Jane aims to receive her Master's Degree in Journalism.
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