Tax Deductibility of Home Equity Loans in 2024

Home equity loans have long been a popular financing option for homeowners looking to tap into the value of their homes. One of the major advantages of these loans is the potential for tax-deductible interest. However, the deductibility of home equity loan interest is subject to certain conditions and limitations.

Here’s what you need to know to determine if you can take advantage of this tax benefit.

Interest Deductibility on Home Equity Loans

The interest on a home equity loan can be tax-deductible, but not the loan principal itself. Several factors come into play to qualify for this deduction: the timing of the loan, the amount borrowed, the use of the funds, and whether itemizing deductions is more beneficial than taking the standard deduction.

Key Rules and Limitations

Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, homeowners could deduct the interest on home equity loans regardless of how they used the funds. The TCJA, however, introduced significant changes:

1. Use of Funds: For the interest to be tax-deductible, the loan proceeds must be used to “buy, build, or substantially improve” the home that secures the loan. This means that you cannot deduct the interest if the funds are used for purposes unrelated to the home, such as paying off credit card debt, covering emergency expenses, or starting a business.

2. Debt Limits: The amount of interest you can deduct depends on when you took out the loan. For loans taken out after December 15, 2017, the interest is deductible on up to $750,000 of qualified loans for joint filers, and $375,000 for single filers. For loans taken out before this date, the limits are higher: $1 million for joint filers and $500,000 for single filers. These limits include both your primary mortgage and any home equity loans.

For instance, if you have an existing mortgage balance of $500,000, you can only deduct the interest on an additional $250,000 of home equity loan debt if the loan was taken out after December 15, 2017.

Itemizing Deductions

To claim the home equity loan interest deduction, you must itemize your deductions on your tax return. This approach is only beneficial if your total itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction for the tax year. For 2024, the standard deduction is $29,200 for married couples filing jointly and $14,600 for single filers or those filing separately.

Are HELOCs Also Tax-Deductible?

Similar to home equity loans, the interest on a home equity line of credit (HELOC) can be tax-deductible if the funds are used for home-related expenses. Non-deductible uses include paying off student loans, covering college tuition, or consolidating credit card debt. The HELOC must be secured by the home that benefits from the funds.

Claiming the Deduction

To claim the deduction, you need the following documents:
- Mortgage Interest Statement (Form 1098): Provided by your lender, showing the interest paid.
- Proof of Fund Usage: Receipts and invoices demonstrating that the loan funds were used for substantial home improvements.

Conclusion

Home equity loan interest can be tax-deductible if the funds are used to improve the home securing the loan and if itemizing deductions is more advantageous than taking the standard deduction. Always consult a tax professional to ensure you meet all requirements and maximize your tax benefits.

Remember that even without the deduction, home equity loans and HELOCs can be a smart financial tool due to their typically lower interest rates than other credit forms.


* Specific loan program availability and requirements may vary. Please get in touch with your mortgage advisor for more information.

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